As a teen, what should I keep in mind when I go online?

Here are few tips to help you protect yourself online:

  • Don't give out your personal information online. That means your full name, address, where you go to school, where you work, or who your parents are. With the internet it’s easy to find someone and then zoom in via satellite to where they live. Scary thought!
  • Only accept "true" friends on your social networking sites.
  • Have privacy settings on at all times, so only those you trust can access your information.
  • Don't post anything that you wouldn't want your parents seeing.  Plus, bear in mind, college representatives and future employers will most likely search for you on the internet.  Make sure your online reputation is squeaky clean.
  • Don’t trust anyone, especially if you don’t know them from face to face encounters. People lie and all you are seeing are words on a screen. Even if you’re on Skype or FaceTime, who is to say the person is who they say they are?
  • Date people you know from school, work, church, synagogue, etc.
  • Don’t post questionable or risqué pictures of yourself. This includes those sleepover, beach or pool vacation pics.
  • Don't let meet people you've met online alone. Rather meet with a group of friends for your first encounter.
  • Do create a half-way profile, that doesn't reveal too much. Only half-way describe yourself on your site. As far as pictures go, post a pet or better yet an Avatar.
  • Do search the internet for people. Do a little digging on your own to learn what you can about your online friend. Next click images and see what photos pop up.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.