The most important thing to remember is that when you’re online in any kind of a public forum, anyone can read what you post. You should also remember that people you first “meet” online may not be who they seem to be.
Keep your identity private
If you’re communicating online, avoid giving out your full name, your mailing address, your telephone number, the name of your school, or any other information that may help someone determine your actual identity. The same goes for your family and friends. Never reveal anything about other people that may possibly get them into trouble.
Do not meet in person
It is dangerous to get together with someone you first “meet” online. Remember, you never know if people you first “meet” online are who they say they are. If you want to meet with someone, discuss it with your parents or guardians first, and never go to the meeting by yourself. Arrange to meet in a public place like a coffee shop or mall you are comfortable with. Have your parents or guardians talk with the parents or guardians of the other person. Both of you should bring your parents or guardians along on the first meeting.
Never respond to E-mail, chat comments, instant messages, or newsgroup messages that are inappropriate or make you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
It isn’t your fault if you get a message that makes you feel that way. If you get a message like that, don’t respond. Instead, show it to your parents, guardians, or another trusted adult and report the incident to your Internet service provider. Sending a response just encourages the person.
Talk to your parents or guardians
It’s important for you and your parents or guardians to be on the same “channel” when it comes to your online activities. This includes when you can go online, how long you can stay online, and what activities you can do online. Talking with your parents or guardians doesn’t mean you have to give up your privacy, but it is important to agree about those basics.
Regardless of whether your parents or guardians are Internet novices or technology gurus, there may be things you know about the Internet that they don’t. This is a great opportunity for you to show them what you do online and, maybe even, help them get more out of the Internet themselves.
Sources: from Know the Rules…General Parental Tips to Help Keep Your Children Safer. Copyright© 2000 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children(NCMEC). All rights reserved.