Internet Safety

Sometimes we say or do things online we would never imagine doing in person. The sense of anonymity we get from the internet can make it easier to try out different things. But it’s important to know that how you present yourself, in the real world or online, has consequences.

Topics

Cyberbullying & Harrassment

Sometimes when you’re using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, you may get messages that are mean, harassing or demeaning. These messages can come from people you may or may not know. Either way, this type of message says a lot more about the character of the person sending it than about the person receiving it.

Try to ignore this cyberbullying and the person who is doing it. BUT if you’re being harassed (i.e. the messages or images you are receiving are dirty, indecent or obscene and the person sending them is being abusive, annoying, harassing or threatening you), report it to your Internet service provider and the local police department. This is a crime under federal law. If cyberbullying or harassment takes place at school, or involves other students from your school, you should also report it to school authorities.

Privacy & Financial Risks

It’s important to remember that very few things you post online are completely anonymous or private. Even some things that don’t seem like a big deal – like posting what school you go to or where you plan to hang out this weekend – could put you at risk.

Someone can hurt or exploit you…

  • Because of information you post or someone else posts about you online
  • Because of something you do or somewhere you go as a result of what you encounter online

Talking to people online can also make you feel like you know them better than you actually do. No matter how long you’ve been talking to them or how “safe” they seem, meeting up with someone you know from online is not a healthy choice.

The internet also has people tapped in who may try to steal your money and/or identity – or that of your family. Keep your eyes open. When promised you can lose a lot of weight quickly or make a lot of money in a short period of time, take a closer look. Generally, these promises that seem way too good to be true, are.

As a rule of thumb, don’t share personal information – like your credit card number, address, etc. – with unverified websites. You may find yourself in the middle of a scam.