Protect Yourself

 Use privacy settings to restrict who can see and post on your profile

Many social networking sites, chat rooms, and blogs have privacy settings. Find out how to turn these settings on, and then do it. Limit your online friends to people you actually know. 

Learn about social mapping

Many mobile phones have GPS technology, and there are applications that allow you to find your friends — and allow them to find you. Use GPS and social mapping apps only with people you know personally and trust. Take advantage of privacy features in apps and on your phone.

 Trust your gut if you feel threatened or uncomfortable because of something online

Tell an adult you trust, and ask for help reporting your concerns to the police and others who can help.

 Always remember, people may not be who they say there are

So watch yourself when you’re out in cyberspace. You never know when the fun or interesting "kid" you're talking to is actually an adult with bad intentions.

 Never plan on meeting someone you ‘met’ online without first talking to a parent/guardian

It’s important they know who you are meeting, when and where. It’s too risky not to if the person you’re meeting isn’t who they say they are.

 Be smart about what you post

Never assume that what you post will remain private, and always avoid potentially embarrassing, hurtful or sexually explicit content. The last thing you need when applying to college or for a job is to have controversial or offensive content about you -- or posted by you -- coming up in a search of the web.

Protect Your Information

 Some information should stay private

Your Social Security number and family financial information — like your parents' bank account or credit card numbers — should stay in the family.

Keep your passwords private

The longer your password, the harder it is to crack. Don't share your passwords with anybody, including your best friends, your boyfriend, or your girlfriend.

Don't reply to text, email, or pop-up messages that ask you to reply with personal information

Even if the message looks like it comes from a person or organization you know, or threatens that something bad will happen if you don't reply. These messages may be fakes, sent to steal your information.

Be cautious about those who want to know too much

There's no rule that says you have to tell them where you live, what your last name is, or anything else personal. Your business is your business. Let them stick to theirs.


Protect Your Computer

 Be cautious about opening attachments or clicking on links

They may contain viruses or spyware.

 Sometimes free stuff — like games, ring tones or screen savers — can hide viruses or spyware

Don't download free stuff unless you trust the source and scan the file with security software.

 Use peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing services with caution

If you use file-sharing software at all, install it properly, and scan any files you download with security software before you open or play them. Otherwise, you could be sharing information your family expects to keep private, like financial records.

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 Politeness counts

Texting is just another way for people to have a conversation. Texters are just like people talking face-to-face or on the phone: they appreciate "please" and "thank you" (or pls and ty).

 Tone it down

In online conversations, using all CAPS, long rows of exclamation points (!!!!) or large bolded fonts is the same as shouting.

 Use Cc: and Reply all: sparingly

Before you hit send on an email, stop and think about whether everyone needs to see that message.

 Avatars are people too

When you're playing a game or exploring an online world where you can create a character and interact with others, remember real people are behind those characters on the screen. Respect their feelings just like you would in person. Remember that your character or avatar is a virtual version of you — what does it tell people about you and your interests?

 Don't impersonate

It's wrong and can be hurtful to create sites, pages, or posts that seem to come from someone else, like someone in your class or a teacher.

 Speak up

If you see something inappropriate on a social networking site or in a game or chat room, let the website know and tell an adult you trust. Using Report Abuse links can help keep sites fun for everyone.

 Don't stand for bullying — online or off

Treat others the way you want to be treated — whether you're interacting with them online, on your phone, or in person.



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 What you post could have a bigger "audience" than you think

Even if you use privacy settings, it's impossible to completely control who sees your social networking profile, pictures, videos, or texts. Before you click "send," think about how you will feel if your family, teachers, coaches, or neighbors find it.

 Once you post information online, you can't take it back

You may think that you've deleted information from a site — or that you will delete it later. Know that older versions may exist on other people's computers. That means your posts could live somewhere permanently.

 Get someone's okay before you share photos or videos they're in

Online photo albums are great for storing and sharing pictures of special events, and camera phones make it easy to capture every moment. Stop and think about your own privacy — and other people's — before you share photos and videos online. It can be embarrassing, unfair, and even unsafe to send or post photos and videos without getting permission from the people in them.


Just don’t do it. You never know who will end up seeing it and it’s like toothpaste; once it’s out there, you can’t put it back.

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This site was compiled with information from,  the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Children’s Partnership Organization &