Dangers of Social Networking

Children who use social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace should be warned about online predators and harassers. They should be taught to do the following to prevent and deal with any problems that might arise:

  • Never to give out your name, address, phone number, or any other personal information that can identify you. Avoid posting anything that would enable a stranger to find you, e.g., school names. Members’ profiles become public information.
  • Never say you are home alone.
  • Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want the world to know, especially anything or language that might embarrass you later, e.g., in applying for college or a job. What’s uploaded can be downloaded and passed around by others and be posted online forever. It can’t be taken back even if it’s deleted from a site.
  • Never send out any pictures of yourself, family members, or friends.
  • Be careful about adding strangers to your list of “friends.” People aren’t always who they say they are.
  • Come to me to discuss any harassment, hate speech, and inappropriate content you receive.
  • Check comments regularly. Ignore and don’t respond to any that are mean or embarrassing. Just log off if the harassment bothers you.
  • Avoid misleading people into thinking you are older or younger than you are.
  • Don’t talk about sex or use any sexually explicit language.
  • Block people from sending you messages or e-mail, or delete them from your “buddy list” if they harass you.
  • Change your password if someone hacks into your profile. Change you username and e-mail address if someone repeatedly bothers you.
  • Contact the company that runs the site to have any your profile deleted if it was created or altered without your knowledge.
  • Talk to someone you trust if you are upset about what is being said about you. If you are scared or threatened contact a Juvenile Service Team officer at your nearest SDPD area station and inform your Internet Service Provider.

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