Keep yourself safe.
- Learn to use each service or app’s privacy settings.
- Don’t let friends or strangers pressure you to be someone you aren’t. And know your limits. You may be internet savvy, but people and relationships change, and unexpected stuff can happen on the internet.
- Be nice online and treat people the way you’d want to be treated. People who are nasty and aggressive online are at greater risk of being bullied or harassed themselves. If someone’s mean to you, try not to react, definitely don’t retaliate. Use privacy tools to block anyone who is being mean.
- Think about what you post. Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on. Even people you consider friends can use this info against you, especially if they become ex-friends. And even if they remain good friends, they can be hacked, their device can be stolen or they could accidentally forward what you sent them.
- Read between the “lines.” It may be fun to check out new people for friendship, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they’re trying to get something. Flattering or supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship.
- Avoid in-person meetings. The only way someone can physically harm you is if you’re both in the same location, so – to be 100% safe – don’t meet them in person. If you really must get together with someone you “met” online, don’t go alone. Have the meeting in a public place, tell a parent or some other solid backup, and bring some friends along.