How safe are you?
Give yourself this little test. If you answer yes to any of these 11 questions, you are NOT as safe as you can and should be online.
1) Do you post your phone/cell phone number on your away messages?
2) Do you have your schools name or your email address/telephone number at school in your profile?
3) Has you or your school ever posted pictures of you and your friends on a website along with your names?
4) Does anyone, besides your parents, know your password, even your best friend?
5) Is your password something obvious, like your pets name, favorite sports team, boyfriend/girlfriends name, date of birth?
6) Have you ever given a complete stranger your real name, school, hometown, sports team, and/or position? Strangers who try to lure kids/teens, pedophiles, piece these little bits of information together to find you.
7) Do you illegally download music, motion pictures, sitcoms, or software?
8) Do you keep a blog and include personal information like your friends names, hometown, school, etc?
9) Do you purchase things online without telling your parents first or from a not well-known vendor?
10) Have you ever replied to an email address that sent you porn/violent spam, or claimed to give you something for signing up? (Replying to these emails allows that particular service to know that you are an active email address; they will use your name to make money and probably make you receive even more unwanted spam.)
11) Have you ever met a stranger offline that you met online?
If you answer yes to all of these questions, you ARE on the right track to being a safe and responsible surfer. You should encourage all of your friends and family to do the same!
2) Do you check for spyware on your computer? (Spyware are analysis and tracking programs hidden in the software. These types of programs report your activities to an advertising providers web site where it is stored and analyzed.) These are some good SpyWare Cleaners: Adaware ( www.lavasoftusa.com) Spybot Search And Destroy
3) Do you use any anti-virus software?
4) Is your password something only you would know? Have you changed it in the past 2 or 3 months?
5) Do you only legally download music, movies, software etc., (incurring a fee to do so)?
6) Do you only talk online to people that you know?
7) Do you keep your profiles and away messages free of personal information (numbers, names, addresses, etc)?
8) Do you just delete spam, instead of contributing to making your ISP's slower by forwarding it?
9) Are you aware of what sites do with your information and who is trustworthy?
I hope you did well! I will be posting some more blogs shortly. I am planning on writing about some of our recent activities as Teenangels, including a trip to San Francisco, where we spoke on a plenary panel at the IAPP/Trust E Privacy Futures conference. It was great and I'll tell you all about it! I'm also going to be working on an article about what teens really do when it comes to pirating motion pictures, sitcoms and software. I want to give the media, policy makers, and adults in general, a sense of these issues from a teen perspective.
One more thing...I'd love to hear from more Teenangels and friends than just Brian and Pat (no offense). That means YOU! Let's get this going!!
You can email me with questions or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org