Internet Safety

Social networking sites, chat rooms, virtual worlds, and blogs are how you as young adults socialize online. You share pictures, videos, thoughts, and plans with friends, others who share your interests, and sometimes, the world at large.

Socializing online can help you connect with friends and family members, but it's important that you learn how to navigate these spaces safely. Sometimes you may share too much information, or you may post pictures, videos or words that can damage a reputation or hurt someone's feelings.

Once it's posted, it can't be taken back. Even if you delete information from a site, you have no control over older versions that may exist on someone else's computer and still circulate online.

What can you do?

Use privacy settings to restrict access to seeing and posting on your profile.
Review your friends list and make sure it's made up of only people you know.
Don't talk about anyone or anything online that you wouldn't say to someone face-to-face and with an audience!
If you are suspicious about someone, report them.
Create a safe screen name without your age or address.
NEVER send or forward sexually-explicit photos, videos or messages. You risk your reputation or the reputation of others, and you could be breaking the law.

Cyberbullying is harassment, plain and simple. And it's cowardly. It can happen in an email, text message, social networking site, or online games.
You can't hide behind the words and images you post. Hurtful messages not only make the target feel bad, they make the sender look bad -- and sometimes, they bring punishment from authorities.
We all know that person -- the one that goes on facebook and trashes different people for being too fat, too ugly, too stupid, etc. Don't let that person be YOU.
Don't support them, don't "like" their comments, don't let them think that what they are saying is OKAY. It's not. Hold these cyberbullies accountable for their words, and make sure they realize it's not okay with you to trash other people.

RESOURCES FOR STAYING SAFE ONLINE OnGuard Online provides practical tips for the federal government and the technology community to help you guard against internet fraud, secure your computers, and protect your privacy. The Federal Trade Commission's website has information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.

GetNetWise.orgThe GetNetWise foundation wants internet users to be just "one click away" from the resources they need to make informed decisions about their and their family's use of the internet. Cyberbully411, created by Internet Solutions for Kids, is an effort to provide resources for youth who have questions about or have been targeted by online harassment. ConnectSafely is for parents, teens, educators, and advocates for learning about safe, civil use of Wed 2.0 together. iKeepSafe educational resources teach children of all ages, in a fun, age-appropriate way, the basic rules of internet safety, ethics, and the healthy use of connected technologies. NetFamilyNews is a nonprofit news service for parents, educators, and policymakers who want to keep up on the latest technology news and commentary about online youth, in the form of a daily blog or weekly email newsletter. The NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive, educational safely resource from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and also the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. It uses 3-D age-appropriate activities to teach children how to stay safer in the internet. WiredSafety provides help, information, and education to internet and mobile device users of all ages. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, nonprofit and academic sectors, the National Cyber Security Alliance seeks to create a culture of cyber security and safety awareness by providing knowledge and tools to prevent cyber crime and attacks.