Stay Safe on the Network

Take the time to think through Internet safety & etiquette.  It's about respecting ourselves and others. Use these tips to help you explore your social networking choices.  You can also ask an experienced safe friend to help you learn quickly and easily.

Don't forget to check out our Network Guidelines.

Protect Your Privacy

  • Be smart about picking a password and keep it private. Some things are meant to be kept private!  Here's a great link with information about picking a password.
  • Think about keeping some control over the information you postConsider restricting access to your page to a select group of people, for example, your friends from school, your club, your team, your community groups, or your family. Adjust your privacy settings to match your level of comfort and review them often.
  • Keep important information to yourselfDon't post your Social Security number, address, phone number, or bank and credit card account numbers and dont post other peoples information, either. Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. This could include the name of your school, sports team, clubs, and where you work or hang out.

Use Caution When Adding New Friends

  • You can decide who's going to be your friend. Don't just click on Add as a Friend without thinking about it. Which of your current family and friends to you want to add as friends?  What about people you dont know?  Look closely at their profiles. Do you have anything in common? What do they have posted at their site or profile? Don't associate with those who dont care enough about themselves to be considerate. Remember, other people can often see your friend list and you might be judged by who you have for a friend.
  • Be wary if a new online friend wants to meet you in person. Before you decide to meet someone, do your research: Ask whether any of your friends know the person, and see what background you can dig up through online search engines. If you decide to meet them, be smart about it: Meet in a public place, during the day, with friends you trust. Tell someone else where youre going, and when you expect to be back. And remember, sometimes people lie about who they are.
  • Trust your gut if something feels wrong to you. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell someone you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.

Think Before You Post Online

  • Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing and knowing about you. Many people can see your page, including your family, the police, the college you want to apply to, or the employer you want to hire you.
  • DON'T POST IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! People will think you are shouting at them.
  • Remember that once you post information online, you can't take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other peoples computers.
  • Consider what photos you use in your profile or post onlineAsk yourself whether it's a photo your mom would have in the living room. Don't repost pictures of others unless you have permission.


For more information

Here are some websites with valuable safety information:

Stay Safe Online

Connect Safely

Developed by Deb Wisniewski, Cindy Kernan, and Caroline Leung.  Adapted from:Social Networking Sites: Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens, Federal Trade Commission,  accessed 2/8/2011;


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