Here is an important list that all teenagers should read to stay safe while using the Internet.
The idea here is that if someone steals your identity, it doesn’t mean they steal the small amount of money that you have. When identity thieves steal your identity, they will use your personal information to set up credit card accounts and start spending huge amounts of cash (WSAG, 2014). Then you get the bill.
Getting and Giving Respect
This includes friends, acquaintances, family and those you don’t even know. Think about what you say before you say it. If you are angry at someone, stop and think before you post or email your angry thoughts. Think about how you would feel if your statements were said to you, your friend, your sibling or your parents. How would it make you feel? There will be consequences for making disrespectful comments. It even gets worse for the person making the comments when that person does not take responsibility for their own words and actions. “It’s rude to expose information about someone – including pictures and videos — without their permission. The only way you’ll know what they want kept private is to ask them; and the only way for them to know what you want private is to tell them” (WSAG, 2014).
Meeting People on the Internet
“Never meet in person with anyone you first “met” on the internet. If someone asks to meet you, tell your parents or guardian right away. Some people may not be who they say they are” (NCAC, 2104). Also read about predators below. There are crazy people in this world and teens should not trust someone they have only met on the internet. Watch the news every evening and you will see why this still needs to be said out loud!
Never Post Your Personal Information
Never share your passwords, account numbers, social security number, home phone number, home address, or your location (NCAC, 2014). Even avoid sharing your middle name electronically. To open an account, identity thieves will need information from several of these checkpoints. Never post any of this information on the internet either!!
This video produced by NSTeens, along with a ton of other videos, are a must for all teenagers to watch!!
Here is a link to the multitude of videos to learn from.
Posting Pictures on the Internet
This is common sense but so many people still do it today. Do not post nude photos, party photos or any other type of compromising photos of yourself (NCAC, 2014). In fact a wiser position to take about photos of yourself; do not let anyone take nude photos of you; not even your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband or wife! If someone gets angry, the picture could get posted as retaliation. Ask anyone who has had this happen to them…those pictures are still on the internet today (NetSmart, 2014).
Predators Seek Vulnerable Youths
If you are contacted by someone you do not know, then do not respond! You do not know who this person is or what their true intentions are!! By not responding, the predator will eventually give up if you never respond once. They will just think they have invalid contact information. Unfortunately, predators can also be someone you do know. Be very careful about conversing with adults using technology. If a conversation ever turns into an inappropriate topic, then talk to your parents immediately! Adults should know better unless they have inappropriate intentions (NetSmart, 2014).
The Internet is Permanent!
The Internet is Permanent! The Internet is Permanent! The Internet is Permanent! The Internet is Permanent! The Internet is Permanent! The Internet is Permanent! (WSAG, 2014) How can this be stated any clearer? That picture you posted just now; most likely someone already downloaded it before you removed it. Those bad words you typed will never be forgotten either!!
Think About Your Online Image
Despite what you have been warned about, you did post those questionable pictures, along with some bad language, bad mouthed that former friend and now it is ten years later. What do you think about what you posted online now? Well, that company you just interviewed with found all of it and said no thanks to your future employment. The internet is permanent!! An excellent guideline for all teens (and adults!!!) to follow; if you do not want your own parents and grandparents to see what is on your account, then you should question what you are posting.
Use Privacy Settings
If you do have a social networking account, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, then be sure you set the privacy settings such that only your friends can see the pictures or read what you wrote (NCAC, 2014). It is for your own protection to prevent bad adults from following you.
Who is Exposing You Online?
Talk to your friends about internet safety too! It is your friends that can accidentally post too much information online about you. Your friends know you well; your age, school, state, city, address. If a friend posts something online like your school, state and your unique name, then it may be enough information for a predator to locate you (WSAG, 2014). Make sure anyone that converses with you on the internet, does not make you vulnerable online.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (2014). Internet safety statistics. Retrieved from http://www.netsmartz.org/safety/statistics
National Children’s Advocacy Center (2014). Internet safety tips for kids and teens. Retrieved from http://www.nationalcac.org/prevention/internet-safety-kids.html
NS Teens (2014). Helping you make safer choices online. Retrieved from http://www.nsteens.org/
Washington State Office of the Attorney General (2014). Internet safety for teens. Retrieved from http://www.atg.wa.gov/internetsafety/teens.aspx#.VEQ5lRYhAyA