The following are answers to questions commonly asked by kids, teens and parents.
- I gave my friend the password to my e-mail account. Without my permission, my friend used that account to send e-mails that look like they are from me. What should I do?
First, go into your account and change the password. Make your password difficult for another person to guess by using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. In the future, be careful what personal information you share with others, especially online. Only share your password with your parents.
- Someone has posted mean things about me on their social-networking page. What should I do?
First, tell a parent or trusted adult. Next, report this to the social-networking Web site. If an individual is using the site to write mean or threatening messages, he or she may be violating terms of service for that site and the individual's profile may be removed. Most social-networking sites have a link on every page to allow reporting of inappropriate material or abuse.
- I noticed inappropriate pictures on a social-networking site. What should I do?
Again, tell your parent or other trusted adult and report this to the social-networking Web site for removal. Most social-networking sites have terms and conditions that prohibit pornography or other sexually themed photos or videos. The site may provide a link on each page to allow reporting of inappropriate material or abuse.
- How do I block someone from contacting me via e-mail
or instant messaging?
Most e-mail services provide a method to block unwanted users. Also, you can search the Internet for "how to block a sender" and the name of your service provider for additional instructions.
- I saw "lol" in my child's instant message. What does "lol" mean?
It is very common for kids to use abbreviations when sending messages. In this case, "lol" can mean "laugh out loud" or "lots of love." Click here to see a list of commonly used abbreviations that you might find helpful.
- What should I do if my child is a cyberbully?
If your child is bullying someone online, sit down with him/her - and talk about its impact on the victim. Also, it is important for parents to discuss proper online behavior. Click here to see a sample "Respect Contract" that outlines general rules to discuss with your child.
- Should I allow my child to have a social-networking profile?
The decision to allow your child to create a social-networking profile is up to you. However, if you do allow your child to create a profile online, it is imperative that you monitor his/her Internet use to provide protection from pitfalls encountered on the Internet.
- My child would like to post a picture online. Should I allow this?
We strongly recommend that children do NOT post pictures of themselves online. Once a picture is on the Internet, you lose complete control over it. Instead, your child can use an avatar (i.e., a cartoon-like representation of himself/herself), or a picture of a favorite movie star or rock band.
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