It is recommended that the following personal protection rules be shared with all youth members.
When you are online, you are in a public place, among thousands of people who are online at the same time. Follow these personal protection rules and you will have fun:
- Keep online conversations with strangers to public places (forums and bulletten boards), not in email, instant messages, or text messages.
- Do not give anyone online your real last name, phone numbers at home or school, your parents’ workplaces, or the name or location of your school or home address unless you have your parents’ permission first. Never give your password to anyone but a parent or other adult in your family.
- If someone sends or shows you email with sayings that make you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. You are probably right to be wary. Do not respond. Tell a parent what happened.
- If somebody tells you to keep what’s going on between the two of you secret, tell a parent.
- Be careful to whom you talk. Anyone who starts talking about subjects that make you feel uncomfortable is probably an adult posing as a kid.
- Pay attention if someone tells you things that don’t fit together. One time an online friend will say he or she is 12, and another time will say he or she is 14. That is a warning that this person is lying and may be an adult posing as a kid.
- Unless you talk to a parent about it first, never talk to anybody by phone if you know that person only online. If someone asks you to call—even if it’s collect or a toll-free, 800 number—that’s a warning. That person can get your phone number this way, either from a phone bill or from caller ID.
- Never agree to meet someone you have met only online at any place off-line, in the real world.
- Watch out if someone online starts talking about hacking, or breaking into other people’s or companies’ computer systems; phreaking (the “ph” sounds like an “f”), the illegal use of long-distance services or cellular phones; or viruses (online programs that destroy or damage data when other people download these onto their computers).
- Promise your parent or an adult family member and yourself that you will honor any rules about how much time you are allowed to spend online and what you do and where you go while you are online.