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Online Safety

Instruction


Exhibit – Keeping Yourself and Your Kids Safe On Social Networks

The quick tips for teens:

  • Put everything behind password protected walls, where only friends can see.
  • Protect your password and make sure you really know who someone is before you allow them onto your friend’s list.
  • Blur or morph your photos a bit so they won’t be abused by cyberbullies or predators.
  • Don’t post anything your parents, principal or a predator couldn’t see.
  • What you post online stays online – forever!!!! So ThinkB4UClick!
  • Don’t do or say anything online you wouldn’t say offline.
  • Protect your privacy and your friends’ privacy too…get their okay before posting something about them or their pics online.
  • Check what your friends are posting/saying about you.  Even if you are careful, they may not be and may be putting you at risk.
  • That cute 14-year old boy may not be cute, may not be 14 and may not be a boy!  You never know!
  • And, unless you’re prepared to attach your blog to your college/job/internship/scholarship or sports team application…don’t post it publicly!
  • Stop, Block and Tell! (don’t respond to any cyberbullying message, block the person sending it to you and tell a trusted adult).
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T!  (use good netiquette and respect the feelings and bandwidth or others).
  • Keep personal information private (the more information someone has about you, the more easily they can bully you).
  • Google yourself!  (conduct frequent searches for your own personal information online and set alerts … to spot cyberbullying early).
  • Take 5!  (walk away from the computer for 5 minutes when something upsets you, so you don’t do something you will later regret).

And for parents:

  • Talk to your kids – ask questions (and then confirm to make sure they are telling you the truth!)
  • Ask to see their profile page (for the first time)…tomorrow!  (It gives them a chance to remove everything that isn’t appropriate or safe…and it becomes a way to teach them what not to post instead of being a gotcha moment!  Think of it as the loud announcement before walking downstairs to a teen party you’re hosting.)
  • Don’t panic…there are ways of keeping your kids safe online.  It’s easier than you think!
  • Be involved and work with others in your community.  (Think about joining WiredSafety.org and help create a local cyber-neighborhood watch program in your community.)
  • Remember what you did that your parents would have killed you had they known, when you were fifteen.
  • This too will pass!  Most kids really do use social networks just to communicate with their friends.  Take a breath, gather your thoughts and get help when you need it.  (You can reach out to WiredSafety.org.)
  • It’s not an invasion of their privacy if strangers can see it.  There is a difference between reading their paper diary that is tucked away in their sock drawer…and reading their blog.  One is between them and the paper it’s written on; the other between them and 700 million people online!
  • Don’t believe everything you read online – especially if your teen posts it on her blog!

For more information, visit www.WiredSafety.org; www.stopcyberbulling.org.

Reprinted with permission from “Parry Aftab’s Guide to Keeping Your Kids Safe Online, MySpace, Facebook and Xanga, Oh! My!”  Parry Aftab, Esq., www.aftab.com


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