Safe Blogging for Teens
Freedom and safety: two trains coming at each other. Teens want their independence while parents want their safety.
If you are a teen, there is a good chance you and your friends have a blog or a presence on MySpace or a similar venue. As you know, your place on the internet is available for *anyone* to see. Some blogging and space services have ways to limit your world to your friends and people you invite and not the entire Internet.
Face it: there are a lot of bad people who would love to stalk your or get your family's money or valuables. And the internet is one of the best ways they can start.
Here are some tips on staying safe.
Think Before you Post
Once you publish something on the public Internet, *anyone* can see it, distribute it, and save it...even years later. In fact, it can be used against you in school or a job interview. Avoid posting provocative pictures of yourself or friends.
College roommates are being investigated on places like Facebook and MySpace - so you can see the far reaches of what you post can and will be used against you.
Face it. You never know who is reading your blog.
Do not respond to embarrassing or mean comments - just ignore them. Posting a nasty reply will only make things worse.
Be honest about your age. The parents of underage teens have a personal and legal responsibility.
Protect your InformationIf your blog service has a 'friends' capability that allows viewing of your profile, only let friends that you know and trust do so.
Avoid Meeting Strangers
Don't get together with someone who you meet on your blog or space unless you are certain of their identity. It is very easy to impersonate anyone you want so beware. If you decide to meet someone, bring along a few friends or a trusting adult in a public place (though this is not totally risk-free). You never know their true intentions.
Read the Terms of Service
Not biding by the terms of service can get you permanently kicked off the blog or space. They are there to protect you and keep you from getting in trouble with the law. Rules such as don't harass, stalk, or intimidate someone, send spam, send out viruses, and don't start a porn site are pretty self-explanatory. Remember: with freedom comes responsibility.
Think About your Friends
Keep your friend's safety in mind, too. Do not post anything personal or bad about them - after all, they are your friends.
Keep strangers from hunting you down by not publically posting personal information such as photographs, last name, phone numbers, the town you live in, your hangouts, your address, or sports teams.
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