Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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INTERNET SAFETY & NETIQUETTE TIPS

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1. E-mail makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family. Make sure you don't respond to e-mails from people you don't know.

2. Tell a parent, teacher or trusted adult if you see anything on the Internet that makes you feel uncomfortable.

3. Avoid using ALL CAPS when you type. It's considered shouting online.

4. Never give out personal information to someone you meet online like your real name, address, telephone number or the school you attend. Only use your member name or e-mail address when chatting or sending e-mail.

5. Don't open files attached to e-mails from someone you don't know. They could contain a computer virus or material that could make you feel uncomfortable.

6. No one should ever ask you to keep secrets from your parents. If someone you meet online asks you to keep a secret from them, tell your parents right away.

7. Remember ? everything you write on the Internet is public and can be read by anyone online. If you want information to be kept private, then write it in your diary or journal - don't write it for the world to see. It could be read by the wrong people.

8. Don't post any photos of yourself, friends or family online. Bad people can edit and repost those pictures on inappropriate Internet sites.

9. Cyberpals are strangers. Never agree to get together with someone you meet online. And make sure to tell your parents, teacher or trusted adult if someone asks you to meet. 

10. Don't use rude and offensive language. There are so many other words from which to choose.

11. If you visit a Web site that requires you to provide personal information, ask your parents first. And ask your parents before buying anything online.

12. Don't accept gifts, such as toys or money, from someone you meet online. The person may be trying to trick you into giving your personal information. Always tell your parents if someone you don't know offers you gifts.

13. Avoid spamming - it's like sending a bunch of annoying junk mail.

14. Be careful when using humor online - people don't always get it. Try using smiley faces when you want to be funny.

15. Remember ? you can't see or hear the people you are talking to online, so it's easy for people to lie. Someone could say she is a "12-year-old-girl," but, in reality, is actually an older man.

16. Don't send "flames." Cyber bullying is very hurtful and can get you in trouble with your parents and school. Never say anything online about someone that you wouldn't say to the person if she was sitting next to you. These are useless messages that hurt people's feelings.

17. Avoid adults only Web sites. If you accidentally encounter one, leave the site immediately.

18. Be concise. E-mail, chats and instant messages are better if your messages are short.

19. See if your Internet Service Provider has a "friends" list that allows you to control who can visit your profile, site or blog. If so, allow only people you know and trust. If you don't use privacy features, anyone can see your info - including people with bad intentions.

20. Always remember ? it's great to ride the wave of the Internet - just use your head while surfing.