Internet Safety

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Internet Safety

You are probably already familiar with social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.  Social networking websites are easy to use means of keeping in touch with friends. Unlike traditional websites which only offer static pages, social websites allow users to interact with the site’s content and with each other. Many of the popular social networking websites let users create personal profiles, add photos, post in a public journal, forum or blog, send messages to others, and invite people to become their online friend – all with just a few clicks of the mouse.

While all of this online activity is a fun way to check in with friends and keep in touch with people you may not get to see every day, there are things to be mindful about when using social networking sites.  Sometimes people share too much information online and aren’t aware that anyone with an Internet connection can view it - like employers, teachers, and people who may not be who they say they are.  The other thing about online posting is that people can see what you post not just today but in the future. Here are some ways that you can help protect yourself and your personal information online.

Protect Yourself on the Net!

  • Most social networking websites require that you be at least 13-years old, and sometimes even 18, to create an account. Do not pretend to be older than you are to use these websites.
  • Almost all social networking sites let users set their profiles to private so that only their friends – usually defined as people that know your full name or email address – can contact you. Set your profiles to private to ensure your information isn’t being looked at by strangers.
  • Treat your online activities the way you would in real life. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face then you shouldn’t say it on Facebook. 
  • Make sure you have permission from your parents to surf the net in public places or your friends houses, as well as post photos and open accounts without their permission.

How you can protect yourself

Tell someone:

  • If you ever see anything online that makes you uncomfortable.
  • If anything happens online that hurts or scares you.
  • If you’re afraid to talk to your parents about your online problems because you fear they will take away your Internet access, tell your GirlSpace program worker, a teacher, a friend or someone else you can trust. 
  • Be on the lookout for people who aren’t who they say they are.

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