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By Zoey Jones

The internet is awesome for getting information and transferring thoughts and ideas, buying hard to find things and meeting people from around the world. The reality is though, for as cool as it all seems, cyber space can be as scary as it is impressive. There are a lot of creeps out there and it's up to you to be an educated web user to protect yourself and those you care about from predators on-line.

The most obvious safety precaution anyone can take on line is to chat with only people you know. This seems like great advice, but one of the coolest parts of being on the web is that you can introduce yourself to so many people with shared interests from all over the world, so limiting yourself to people you know may not be an option for you.

If you want to meet new people on line and have in-depth conversations and possibly develop friendships along the way, here are some important precautions to take.

Be Web Safe:

  1. Don't use your real name - use a code name. If you do use your real name, just make sure you don't use both first and last name.
  2. Never, ever give out personal information such as the city or town in which you live, your address, telephone number, parent's work addresses and telephone numbers or the name and location of the school you attend.
  3. Never send a picture of yourself.
  4. Never agree to get together in person with someone you've met online unless your parents or other responsible person knows of your actions, approves of the meeting and then goes with you to the meeting.
  5. Do not respond to message that make you feel uncomfortable. Tell someone.
  6. Do not reveal your internet password to anyone.
  7. Talk to your parents or guardian about what you're doing online.
  8. Be a good internet citizen and don't send messages that make others uncomfortable or may be illegal.
  9. Remember - all the lessons you learned about dealing with strangers apply to anyone you're dealing with online.

Don't be afraid to surf the net, just use common sense and pay attention. If you feel an online chat buddy is pressuring you in any way - get off line and tell someone. You don't have to do anything you don't want to. Follow these rules, have fun and chat on!

Want more info? Click here to go to Resources.


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