Tips To Stay Safe While Surfing the Internet
How Much To Share About Yourself on the Internet
You would never tell a stranger your name, address, phone number, or the name of your school. And unless your parents told you it was okay, you wouldn't hand your picture out to strangers because it is dangerous to share personal information and pictures to people you don't know. Staying safe while using the internet means following these same guidelines.
Whether you are in a chat room, or posting information on a social website or bulletin board, DO NOT SHARE:
- Your real name (this also includes the names of your friends and family members)
- Your address
- Your phone number
- Name of your school
Here are some ideas to consider when you aren't sure:
Always ask an adult before you share any information on the internet. If you aren't sure about other information, like your family's email addresses, your favorite sport or your favorite food, ask a parent.
What To Do When A Stranger Contacts You
If a stranger continues to bug you or makes you feel uncomfortable, tell an adult. Your parents or teacher can change the settings on your computer to block the stranger from contacting you again.
NEVER plan to meet someone you met on the internet without permission from your parents.
When someone you don't know contacts you and says they are the same age as you, you might think, "The stranger is just a kid in school, like me! I'm not a dangerous person, so it isn't dangerous to talk to this stranger." People online can make up lies about who they are, how old they are and where they live. Strangers can use pictures of other people and tell you they are pictures of them.
The easiest way to stay safe online is to ask your parents or teacher before replying to anyone you don't know and tell an adult if someone or something on the internet makes your feel uncomfortable.
Follow this link to the FBI website for kids about Internet safety and strangers:
Safe Websites and What to Do With Pop-Up Boxes
- Only go to websites that your parents or teacher have said are okay for you to visit. A good way to keep you safe while you explore on the internet is to have an adult create a folder just for you. Ask them to add all of the websites you are allowed to visit.
- Never click on a box that pops up on your screen without asking an adult first.
- Never download a file without asking permission.
Creating Safe and Secure Usernames and Passwords
Never use your real name in your username.
A username is the name you give yourself and will be known as on that website. Usually, you will use your username to sign-on. Everyone can see your name so you should never include your real name when you create your username. Use something that is unique to you and something that only your family and friends would be able to identify. If you love surfing and the number 82, "82surf82" is a great unique and safe username that keeps strangers from finding out your real name.
Keep your online identity safe by keeping your password a secret and only telling your parents so they can help you stay safe.
Passwords are secret codes that let the website know you are the owner of your username. Passwords should always be different from your username and use a combination of letters and numbers. "LeArNiNgIsGr8t4Me" is a good example of a password that uses numbers, lower case letters and uppercase letters.
More information about passwords: http://security.getnetwise.org/tips/passwords
It Isn't Always Polite To Share! When Sharing Can Be Hurtful To Others
You already know it is unsafe to share your personal information, like your name, address and phone number. You wouldn't share your biggest secrets with your class, school or neighborhood, either. When you create online profiles or avatars and share too much of your information, thoughts and opinions, it is like telling a large community your biggest secrets. Once something is typed or a picture is shared on the Internet, it can never be taken back...even if it is deleted!
Take a minute to think before you type. Give yourself time to think about what you will say and how other people on the internet will read your words, so you don't embarrass yourself or hurt someone's feelings. Even if you are just teasing or being silly, the people reading what you type can't see your face or hear you, so it's sometimes difficult to know when someone is teasing on the internet.
Before you type, it is a good idea to always think about everyone who might read it and ask yourself, "Is this something I would say if these people were standing in front of me?" If your answer is no, then it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself.
First, think. Then type.
For more information about your online identity, please go to:
Finally...Tips to Remember for Safe Internet Surfing:
- Always ask an adult before you share any information on the internet.
- Ask your parents or teacher before replying to a stranger or if someone or something on the Internet makes your feel uncomfortable.
- Never plan to meet someone you met on the internet without permission from your parents.
- Never use your real name in your username.
- Keep your online identity safe by keeping your password a secret. Only share you password with your parents.
- Only go to websites that your parents or teacher have said are okay for you to visit.
- Never click on pop-up boxes or download files without asking an adult first.
- First, think about what you want to type. Then type. Read what you wrote. Is it something you would say in person to everyone who can read it?
Federal Trade Commission, OnGuard Online. (2010). Net criteria chatting with kids about being online. Retrieved from Onguardonline website: http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/pdf-0001.pdf
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New, M. (2011, November). Your online identity. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/kid/watch/house/online_id.html?tracking=K_RelatedArticle
Online safety guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://kids.getnetwise.org/safetyguide/
Safety tips. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
Teaching kids about internet safety [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.gcflearnfree.org/internetsafetyforkids/1
Use unique passwords. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://security.getnetwise.org/tips/passwords