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12 Things To Do To Be Safer Online
- Buy all the safety software you need and use good filtering tools.
Keep them current and use them unfailingly-as automatically as locking your door when you leave the house.
- Discuss online safety with your family and friends.
Decide together how you will help protect each other online and set rules that reflect your personal and family values. Decide what activities are okay and what information it's fine to give out and to whom.
- Be selective about who you interact with online and what information you make public.
The risks are relatively low when you stick with people you know-your family and friends. Going into public chat rooms or opening your blog up to the general public, for example, significantly increases your risk. Think before you post online any information that can personally identify you, a family member, or friend in public place. (That means in a public blog, in online white pages, on job hunt sites, or in any other place anyone on the Internet can see.) Sensitive information includes birth date, gender, town, e-mail address, school name-even photos. This information can be used to help someone find you or steal your identity.
- Pay attention to the risks of e-mail.
Think twice before you open attachments or click links in e-mail-even if you know the sender-as these can be used to transmit spam and viruses to your computer. Never respond to e-mail asking you to provide personal information, especially your account number or password, even if it seems to be from a business you trust. Reputable businesses will not ask you for this information in e-mail.
- Put your family computer and Internet-connected game consoles in a central location.
A family room or kitchen makes a good place where you can watch over your children's online activity.
- Never, ever meet in person someone you've met online without taking somebody else along.
Remember, people are not always who they say they are.
- Review the features on your children's cell phones.
Can they download images from the Internet, use instant messaging, or access services that allow others to pinpoint their location? All of these features could be a cause for concern, depending on your child's maturity and situation.
- Find out how and where to report abuse.
Create an environment that encourages your kids to report abuse to you. Acting as a responsible Internet citizen can help stop the illegal activity, harassment, and predatory behavior of online criminals.
- Don't trade personal information for “freebies.”
(Good advice for kids, too.) Just as in the physical world, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unwanted software like spyware and viruses often piggybacks on software that's “free.”
- Check out the safeguards on computers your child uses outside the home...
At his or her school, the public library, and the homes of your child's friends.
- Choose a safe online name.
Use e-mail addresses, IM names, chat nicknames, and other such names that don't give away too much personal information. Pick a name that doesn't help identify you (your age, for example) or locate you. Avoid flirtatious or provocative names that may cause unwanted attention.
- Sit down with your child regularly to review Internet contacts and activity...
Buddies, blogs, browser history, image files, music downloads, and so on. Let them know you'll do this periodically. Explain that this is not to violate their privacy, but to protect them and the family from risks.
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between Cell phones or over the Internet. The term was first popularized around 2005, a combination of the terms sex and texting. Sexting that involves teenagers sending explicit photographs of themselves to their peers has led to a legal gray area in countries that have strict anti-child pornography laws, such as the United States.
Sexting is a result of advances in technology enabling new forms of social interaction. Messages with sexual content have been exchanged over all forms of historical media. Newer technology allows photographs and videos, which are intrinsically more explicit and have greater impact. A social danger with sexting is that material can be very easily and widely propagated, over which the originator has no control.
There are numerous problems with criminalizing teen sexting behavior. A prominent issue is that the child pornography laws were designed to protect children, not to prosecute them. Trying to fit the facts of a teen sending a sexually explicit email to a boyfriend into a law that was designed for adults who abuse children is a contortion. In addition, the vast majority of the teens are not predators and do not intend to produce child pornography.
Rather than initiating criminal charges or imposing significant long term consequences (such as expulsion), for an act that is more thoughtless and frivolous than intentional and malicious, it would be helpful to begin a dialogue about the repercussions of sexting. We should encourage teens to think before they post pictures and delete any sext messages that they receive, rather than forward them.
Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others. Cyberbullying has emerged as one of the most-talked about issues in Internet safety and a top concern for policymakers, parents, and kids. It is a growing phenomenon worldwide and is perpetrated over a growing range of platforms, devices, and websites.
New technologies such as text messaging, “twittering,” social networking site profiles, and instant messaging enable kids to bully one another long after the school day ends. Parents, educators, and legislators are faced with the dilemma of how to deal with this new kind of bullying where the cyber-savvy schoolyard bully uses social networks rather than fists to pick a fight.
Cyberbullying can involve varying forms of technology:
About Internet Privacy
There are many ways in which personal information can be inadvertently or unwittingly disclosed over the Internet.
View a list of the ways that personal information can be gathered on the Internet.
One of the most common forms of identity theft involves that of online websites that sell items.
Identity theft can also occur through your email. Prevent yourself from being a victim of identity theft with knowledge of these informative articles:
- The Characteristics of Identity Theft
- Identity Theft Statistics
- How Identity Theft Scams Work
- How to Keep From Being One of the Victims of Identity Theft
- What to Do for Identity Theft Reporting
The ParentalControl Bar™
A Free Public Service
ParentalControl Bar™ is a simple, powerful tool to help shield your children from explicit websites. Simply activate Child-Mode while your children surf the internet, and the toolbar will block access to adult-oriented websites. The toolbar first checks if the site is self-labeled, compares this site label to your parental settings and determines whether to block or allow access. The toolbar also allows parents to add specific websites to a personal 'always blocked' or 'always allowed' list. Although no system is ever perfect and we cannot guarantee that all unwanted websites will be blocked, parents will be able to more effectively control the types of websites their children access with this tool. WRAAC continues to promote website self-labeling and is constantly 3rd-party labeling the most popular unlabeled sites on the internet, so that this tool remains an effective browser filtering tool.
Online Rating Notice:
Online-enabled games carry the notice "Online Interactions Not Rated
by the ESRB.
" This notice warns those who intend to play the game
online about possible exposure to chat (text, audio, video) or other types of
user-generated content (e.g., maps, skins) that have not been considered in the
ESRB rating assignment.Game Ratings & Descriptor Guide
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