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So, everyone here on this site probably loves social networking, the hottest new thing of the century. We love to talk to people who we don't even know in order to get to know them better. We get the chance to chat and socialize with others! Not only is it fun to do this, it also is proven to boost self-esteem, and it promotes people to be themselves in real life.
While there are plenty of positives to social networking, things like forums and blogs can also be a dangerous place, especially for young adults. We've all heard the scary stories of kidnappings and horrid crimes due to things that occured over the internet. If you are a teenager, these stories have probably scared your parents to death, preventing them from wanting you to branch out to others online. However, many incidents can be prevented if you keep yourself safe online. Here are some good rules to follow wherever you are: WebkinzInsider, MySpace, Facebook, Club Penguin, etc.:
Keep your address, phone number, email address, and last name a secret. Even if you know the person in real life, people have ways of seeing into your conversations and locating you, which could cause a scary situation.
Make sure the forums/blogs/sites you chat on include moderators. If the site isn't monitored, it probably is not a safe one to use.
Watch what you say about your personal life. One story accounts for a girl who thought she was instant messaging with a teenager, and she didn't give out any true locative information, like address, phone number, or last name. The thing that got her into trouble was saying her team's name and mascot. Here is the main plot of the story posted by Shinx:
This is a great thread! I've read a story where a girl talked to someone she thought was her age, and she told him about her sports team and he found her! He sat on the bleachers and watched her play, and he was really a police officer. It was on this Spongebob Fan Club website or something like that.
If you were the Cityville Bulldogs, for instance, someone online can Google your name and mascot and find out that you live in Cityville, State.
Keep your age to yourself. WebkinzInsider does a wonderful job of keeping us from saying our ages. However, on other sites, you need to do your part, too. Do not let ANYONE know your real age. If you are talking with friends from real life on Facebook, they should already know your age. It's nobody's business; they should appreciate you for who you are.
Never post a picture of yourself anywhere on the internet. If you have a team website, for instance, and your coach puts a picture of each player with their name underneath on the internet, ask that your name and/or picture be removed. You have no idea who could be looking at that website at any time.
If you wouldn't say it in real life, don't say it online. If you were in real life and didn't like someone, you probably wouldn't tell them, right? Same goes for the online world. If you have a person who you don't really appreciate, don't tell them or talk to them. If they say something mean to you, report it to a moderator and then tell them you didn't appreciate their comment and have reported them to a moderator.
Keep your school information to yourself. If you attend Cityville Middle School and your name is John, you can easily be located by predators online if you announce these things. Even if there are 5 Johns in your grade at school, you have a 20% chance of being the one predators are looking for.
If anyone seems suspicious, REPORT THEM IMMEDIATELY. If someone asks you weird questions or things you don't feel should be asked by anyone online, get a moderator involved. They can help you with the situation and maybe give helpful tips on what information not to give.
If you don't want anyone to know your real name, go by a nickname. I have a friend who goes on a site where she is known as "Kai" by everyone, instead of her real name. By using a nickname, you fully protect your identity on the internet. Another thought -- if you feel that your name is uncommon, definitely go by a nickname or your username.
If you have any other tips you would like to share, please do so. While stories of online crimes are scary, the virtual world can be a fun place as long as you keep yourself safe!
Here is an avatar from wowewe. Be sure to watch the whole thing!
Last edited by ImTara55; 08-30-2009 at 05:53 PM.. Reason: YAY! wowewe avvie back! :D
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