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Safety Tips for Teens

Tips by Teens for Teens

  • Remember - A million times before you've heard that honesty is the best policy. Most people don't believe that, though. So when you're out there in cyberspace, watch yourself. You never know when 5'6", blond and female could actually mean 6'3", hairy and male. Don't believe everything you see online.
  • Be leery of those who want to know too much. There's no rule that says you have to tell them where you live, what your last name is, or anything else personal. Your business is your business. Let them stick to theirs. And trust your instincts. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, leave.
  • We all remember the "buddy system" from kindergarten. Sure, you're no longer in kindergarten, but the system still works. If you're planning on meeting up with somebody you met online, bring a friend, or even your parents, along with you and encourage your online acquaintance to bring theirs, too. It sounds stupid, but it's definitely the smart idea. At the very least, make sure your real friends know what you're doing.
  • Before you take a running leap at the streets and a hard-knock life, let somebody know how you're feeling. Try talking to an understanding relative or friend, or call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000. They are a better, more trustworthy resource than a stranger in a chat room.
  • If you get suspicious e-mails, files, or pictures from someone you don't know and trust, trash them just like any other junk mail. You could have a lot to lose by trusting someone you've never even met. The same goes for clicking links or URLs that look suspicious - just don't do it.
  • Avoid chat rooms or discussion areas that look sketchy or provocative, and don't let people online trick you into thinking of them as real-life friends if you've never met them in person. Just the same, don't let people goad you into online fights. If you go looking for trouble on the Internet, you'll find it, and things can get out of control really fast.
 
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