Social Media Safety

  • Text, tweet, IM, e-mail, blog, post . . . between cell phones and computers you can stay in touch with anyone, anytime, anywhere. But staying connected has its risks. Posting or sending inappropriate messages, or videos—can lead to trouble that can last for years after the message or post is sent.

    The Internet is forever. 

    • Messages and posts are things you can never take back.
    • Many Internet sites keep records of everything posted and may share that information with other people, including the police and potential employers.
    • And there’s nothing you can do to check copies that may have been downloaded or forwarded by other parties.


    People forward things. 

    Nearly half of all teens forward messages and pictures to someone else, and 15% of teens say that they’ve had private chats made public. Messages or pictures you meant for just one person could end up anywhere and be seen by anyone.


    Tips for Staying Safe

    Protect your identity. Your passwords are the only thing standing between you and a lot of potential trouble. Fourteen percent of teens say that they’ve had their online identities stolen by someone else. So, even if you can’t imagine a friend using your account to do something wrong, keep your password private. 

    • Pick something other people can’t easily guess.

    • Avoid obvious things like your birthday or your pet’s name. 

    Another way to protect your identity—and your safety—is to 

    • Be careful about what you share online or in a text. 

    • Avoid posting detailed personal information like your full name, phone number, address, or school name.

    • Don’t post details about where you are going or what you are doing. 


    Know who you’re “talking” to. 

    Let’s face it, there’s no way to be sure WHO you’re talking to on the Web. Passwords get stolen, friends “borrow” each other’s accounts, and people just plain lie. Six out of ten teens say they’ve chatted online with someone who was probably lying about who they were, and 7 out of 10 say they’ve gotten messages from people they didn’t know, including requests for personal information. Be smart and be safe. Never agree to an in-person meeting with someone you only know through the Internet. It can be dangerous and even deadly. 


    Think before you send. 

    Think about the consequences before you send a picture or message. 

    • Think about some of the places the message could end up. 

    • How would you feel if everyone at school saw it? 

    • What would your friends and family think? 

    • Keep in mind that the message or image could end up anywhere and that you won’t be able to take it back.

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