Internet Safety

By Lindsey Stuckey

Don't give out personal information.

Don't give out any kind of personal information online such as your address, your telephone number, your social security number, or where you go to school. It's best not to share anything that anyone could use to find you.

Everything that you do online is saved.

Whether you're posting on twitter or looking at a Youtube video, everything that you do online is saved. You can try to delete it, but it will always be there. Nothing that you do online is private. Your digital footprint is a term used to describe the "footprint," or trace that you leave behind on the internet. Anything that you do online is a part of your digital footprint that will remain on the internet forever.

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Know what cyberbullying is.

What is cyberbullying? The dictionary definition for cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. Cyberbullying can be rude texts or embarrassing posts on facebook. Know what cyberbullying is in order to avoid it. If you feel that you are being cyberbullied, tell a parent or other trusted adult. In a recent study, only 1 in 10, or about 10% of teens being bullied online told an adult.

Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.

Would you say everything that you say online to a person face to face? If you don't have anything nice to say online, don't say anything at all. Just because you aren't face to face with someone online, the same harmful side effects take place.
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Know how to use the privacy setting.

Did you know that the form of social media that you use probably has a privacy setting? The privacy setting will let you decide who can access you're page or comment on your posts. It will also protect you from unwanted predators. Ask an adult to help you to change your privacy setting to keep your social media private.

Be careful with your passwords.

Never give out your passwords to anyone, even your friends. A complex, strong password is the number one defense against online intruders. Windows suggests that a strong password is at least eight characters long and does not contain your real name. They also suggest that your password should contain both lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols found on the keyboard. NBC News suggests that you change your password every few months to limit how long a stolen password is useful.

Be careful what you post.

Everything you post online is always there. Would you want your teachers to look at what you post on social media? Keep that in mind, as colleges will look at what you have put out to the world to see. Someday, when you're applying for a job, they might also look back at what you've shared. These posts can keep you from getting into a good school or your dream job. Protect your reputation and make yourself look good online.

Never meet an online friend in person.

Do you really know who you are talking to online? People can easily use fake screen names to make them look like someone they aren't. Make sure that the people that you communicate with online are really who they say they are. If you're not sure, email or call this person to verify that they use this screen name. Also, never meet someone who you've met online in person.

Never send a flame.

"Flaming" is when a person sends a text or other instant message expressing a strong opinion. Sending a flame won't resolve any conflict. In fact, it may even worsen it. If you feel the need to send a flame, wait until you cool off, even if it takes a couple day. Help keep flame wars under control. Do not encourage flaming to your friends and other peers, as Netiquette outlaws it.

Use common sense!

Last but not least, use common sense online. Whatever you do on the internet, pause and think about it before acting. In the future, you'll be glad that you did. Remember the Golden Rule, "Treat everyone the way that you want to be treated." This rule applies online too. Be kind to everyone online if you expect to receive kindness back.
Pause & Think Online