First rule of smart online surfing??
Remain as anonymous as possible.
That means keeping ALL private information private!
Every piece of information you post, every action you take online has commercial value to someone. Your information helps companies provide you with ads that are targeted to your interests, helps researchers know what kind of products to design. Your information is also used in negative ways. For example: to embarrass or bully you, by criminals or individuals building profiles of people to scam, to steal identities, hijack computers, find homes to break into, people to physically harm, and so on... Posts on the Internet remain there for a long time, are not retrievable and easily become public... if it's not something you'd want the world to see, don't post it!
What are you downloading on to your computer? Spyware programs monitor all your Internet activity, a key-logger records all the keystrokes you make on the computer, such as your login, passwords, and all the emails you send to your friends. It then sends all this information to the software developer.
Make your Facebook/Social networking profile private.
Regularly check your profile privacy settings on Facebook and Myspace, they are often automatically reset without notification.
Setting your FB page to private is essential and a step in the right direction but who's on your friends list? Don't give just anyone access to your world. Remember, everything on your profile represents who you are. What does yours say about you?
In many cases the default setting for social media sites is that all information that you post on the site is public
Would you give your personal information to a stranger on the street? This means phone numbers, addresses, school names or locations, places of employment etc... People online are strangers too Never put these details on your profile
Profile, email and chat room passwords are yours, don't share them they can be used against you! Think carefully before you create an email address or screen name. We recommend that you use a combination of letters and numbers in both and that you don't identify whether you're male or female.
Consider who will see the profile photos you post. You may think you look awesome, but it may draw some unwanted attention from users who have the wrong intention. Remember to really think about the types of photos you are posting, once uploaded they are not easily retrievable and can be used by others without your permission.
Don't bother responding to nasty, suggestive or inappropriate requests A high percentage of teens receive inappropriate messages and solicitations when they're online. These can be scary, strange and embarrassing. If you feel harassed by a stranger or friend online, tell an adult you trust immediately. It's never good to respond. Responding is likely to make the situation worse and you may say something you wish you hadn't.
Just as in the non-cyber world, some people you encounter online might try to take advantage of you, financially or physically. Users can easily remain anonymous, chat rooms often attract people who are interested in more than just chatting. They'll sometimes ask for information about you, your family, or where you live — information that shouldn't be given away. Predators may use this information to begin illegal or indecent relationships or to harm a person's or family's well-being...BE AWARE.
Never hesitate to BLOCK individuals who make you feel uncomfortable online.
If someone offers you something that seems to good to be true it probably is.... WATCH OUT!
Who are you adding as "friends" on Myspace, Facebook and other social networking sites? Only add people you know personally. Your personal profile is not a popularity contest. How many of your “friends” do you actually know? Is it worth the risk? Please be sure you know the person you are adding, there are so many fake profiles! Do you really want strangers viewing your personal profile or your friends profiles? Be sure your account is set on private, you could be making yourself or you family vulnerable if you allow just anyone to view your personal information!!
Have you ever added someone just for the “count” or that you think is really cool? Are they really who they say they are? It is not uncommon for predators to steal the identities of people in the public eye. For example, the profiles of musicians, celebrities, model photographers and popular professionals are stolen all the time to lure kids and teens.
Why participate in cyber-bullying? If you cant talk to someone face to face, don't be a coward and do it online! Treat others as you would want to be treated... if you are receiving bullying messages online, it's better to ignore them rather than answer them. Cyber bullies, just like other bullies, may be angry or projecting their own issues onto other people, they may be looking for attention or a reaction. If you're getting cyber bullied and ignoring it doesn't make it go away, getting help from a parent, school counsellor, or another trusted adult is really good thing to do especially if the cyber bullying contains threats.
Think before sending a photo of yourself to anyone online, once they are posted they can't be retrieved. Sharing sexual photos or text messages may seem harmless, but you could be breaking the law by sending, receiving or forwarding pictures. Once you've sent a picture or message, it's out of your control and could turn up anywhere at anytime! They can be used by others for cyber bullying, cyber stalking or sexual harassment. Be careful who you trust... it can be impossible to remove photos or control access to them.
Remember that nothing is temporary online. The virtual world is full of opportunities to interact and share with people around the world. It's also a place where nothing is temporary and there are no "take-backs." What you do and say online can't be retrieved online, even if you delete it and it's so easy for others to copy, save, and forward your information.
Please remember people you've met online are actually strangers no matter how long you have been talking to them.
So many kids have met with people in person that they met online as a stranger. Kids and teens are very trusting and don't think there are people in this world who will harm them. Unfortunately they do exist! There are too many children who have gone missing because of these types of meetings. Kids & teens should never, I repeat NEVER meet with someone in person they have met online unless accompanied by a parent, or a trusted adult.
Never agree to meet anyone face to face alone.
If an online friend requests a meeting tell your parents, carer or a friend.
Rather than talking to someone online about personal problems, reach out to someone you know and trust who will listen.
We recommend that people keep online friendships in the virtual world. Meeting online friends face to face carries more risks than other types of friendships because it's so easy for people to pretend to be something they're not when you can't see them or talk in person. It is essential that you Skype or speak to your online friend via live webcam to ensure they are the same person in real life as they say they are on their online profile...No excuses, if the person you are speaking to online does not agree to this or keeps on making excuses it means something is wrong, they could be hiding their true identity or even worse, you could be in real danger!