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Teen Internet Safety Tips

With a few Internet safety tips, your online experience can be amazing!

6. Your Parents Are Ultimately Responsible for Minors Online

Even if your parents don’t know much about the Internet, tell them what types of web sites you go to. They will probably be interested and impressed with your Internet skills. They may also help you avoid potential problems if a web site or new "friend" looks sketchy.

Some Extra Words of Caution

Almost Everything on the Internet Is Traceable

Every search, web site visit, online posting and email is registered or recorded somewhere on the Internet. Once you send something out on the Internet, it's almost impossible to take it back. You have to be careful -- not impulsive -- when you write email or go to chat rooms.

People Live in "Fantasyland" Online

Even though someone writes, “Hi, I’m a really cool 15-year-old guy from New York City,” in reality that guy may be a 60-year-old man or even your next-door neighbor. Use scrutiny and caution. 

Your Information Can Be Sold to Others

Every web site has this thing called a “privacy policy.” It will tell you how that web site uses all the personal information about you, like your name. In some cases, though, when you’re not looking, some web sites ignore their privacy policy and sell your email address to other companies. When you open your email one day, you might have 150 spam emails in your inbox as a result. If a web site is asking for too much information about you, take control and leave the site. (Again, would you give this information to some older stranger at the mall? Probably not.)

What about Nude Photos and Sex Sites?

You’ve probably come across some explicit sexual material on the Internet. That’s because pornography is big business on the web. If you come across a pornography site or get pornographic email, take control: Leave the site or delete the email. 

Remember, pornography is not real life. It's made up -- the men and women are acting. In real life, real people don't act that way with each other. There are much better ways to learn about real sex if you're curious -- like WebMD’s Teen Health Channel.           

Is It Safe to Post Photos of Myself on the Internet?

No way! In terms of bad ideas, this one tops the chart! John Shehan from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children based in Alexandria, Virginia, says that posting or emailing sexual pictures of yourself can be embarrassing -- and dangerous. “Teens quickly learn the hard way that images are forever memorialized online, and they are almost impossible to delete,” Shehan says.

If someone asks you to send them sexual pictures, be very suspicious -- and don't do it. Alert your parents. Shehan says that teens who send out one sexual picture can sometimes be blackmailed to send more, when the sexual predator threatens to post the first picture online for millions to see -- or show it to your family or friends.

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