Kids as young as 10 are now on Facebook or other sites where they sign up and communicate with their friends and strangers. It's time to have the "safe network" talk...even before you have the "safe sex" talk. Here are a few tips to help:
- Only join sites where you can control the users or "friends" who view your information. Help kids with the security settings to control the restrictions and information.
- Keep information private. Don't post your address, phone number, any private numbers like social security. Even names of the school or where you hang out or work should be kept private.
- Pick a different screen name. Don't pick one with sexual innuendos.
- Post only information that you would want a teacher, employer, college recruiter, grandmother to see. Even restricted sites are not guaranteed.
- One something is posted, it cannot be taken back. "Delete" is not guaranteed and posts can be copied and reposted on other sites. The internet is forever.
- If you post a photo, make sure it is one that is tasteful. Photos can be altered but there isn't much you can do about that except not post a photo.
- Never flirt with strangers. Period.
- Never meet someone in person that you don't know. If you consider this rule you have broken rule number 7.
- If something seems wrong on line, trust your gut and tell an adult. Cyber-bullying, scams, hoaxes are everywhere and should never be on social networking sites.
- Never click on ads or other appealing pop-ups. This is a way to open up your computer to viruses and to let others get at your private information.
On Guard Online, or Get Net Wise, or Wired Safety. They provide good info for parents in keeping kids safe on social networking sites.