Dear Amy: I’m thinking about joining a social networking site, like Facebook. Do you have any advice on how to stay safe? — Martin R., Springfield, Ill.
Dear Martin: While social networking can be a fun way to connect with friends, it is very important to talk to your parents before setting up an account.
There are steps you can take to stay safe. First, remember that any pictures or information you post can be seen by others, so be careful not to share private information that you would not share with a stranger. Only accept friend requests from people you have met in person, and set your privacy settings to “only friends.”
Always include your parents on your friends list so people will know your parents see what is posted to you. If you experience cyberbullying, tell a parent or an adult you trust right away. If the issue is not resolved, tell another adult until it is taken care of. Cyberbullies only have power if you say nothing; if they know you are protected, they are less likely to repeat the offense. Check out Kids Socializing Online, onguardonline.gov/articles/0012-kids-and-socializing-online.
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