Safe Surfing: A Kid's Guide To Using The Web

The Internet is a source of all kinds of helpful information and facts. It can also be used as a way to communicate with a friend down the street or in another country. Unfortunately, some people use the Internet to try to victimize kids. For instance, child predators often visit chat rooms designed for kids in order to find out personal information and establish harmful relationships. Cyber bullies use the Internet to harass or threaten kids. In addition, there are people who use the Internet to steal people's identities by collecting all of the personal information that they can. If a dishonest person obtains personal information of any kind via the Internet, there is little to no chance that the owner of the information can get it back. The Internet can be helpful to kids in many ways, but they must always keep in mind some basic rules for online safety.

Online Safety Tips for Kids

  • Never reveal any personal information in a chat room. This includes your name, family members' names, your address, phone number, email address, or the name of your school. Personal information should remain private.

  • When you are in a chat room do not feel obligated to answer any question that you are asked. You are free to stop chatting with someone at any time.

  • In a chat room be aware of anyone who is asking about your relationship with your parents. The questioner may be trying to manipulate their way into your personal life.

  • If you are chatting with someone who is insisting on getting a particular answer from you or making you feel uncomfortable, it's time to move out of the chat room.

  • When it comes to any of the social media websites, do not share any personal information about yourself such as your full name, address, phone number, etc.

  • Never meet in person someone who you have talked with on a social media website or any other website. A person can very easily hide behind the anonymity of the Internet and claim to be anyone they want.

  • You should never post an improper photo of yourself on the Internet or text one to someone. If you do, you have given up all control of who will see the photo. Also, once a photo goes out on the Internet it will be there for years to come and can negatively impact your future.

  • Never make a video of yourself that is improper or compromising. Once a video is released onto the Internet, it is impossible to get it back.

  • Always be aware of the people you consider friends online. A person who is typing a message to you on the Internet can claim to live anywhere, be any age, etc. It is easy for a predator to lie and manipulate a kid via the Internet.

  • If you are bullied on the Internet, do not respond to the person. Tell your parents about what is happening.

  • Do not give any financial information out over the Internet such as credit card or bank account numbers. It is important for a parent to decide whether a website is secure.

The Internet can be a very useful service to a kid. It offers a way to keep up with good friends, gives homework assistance, offers news updates, and more. If a kid is careful about protecting their safety while online, they can feel free to enjoy all the benefits the Internet has to offer.

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