Chatting to friends using IM, in chat rooms and on social networking sites can be great ways to keep up to date. Social networking sites are used by people worldwide to post information, display photos, tell people what they’ve been up to, chat and play games.
But while there are lots of good points about keeping in touch with online friends, there are also some risks with meeting people online—especially if you don’t know them in real life.
There are some important things to remember when joining a social networking site and chatting with people online:
- Set your profile to private—customise your profile so only your friends can see it. Ask an adult for help or look for the Help section on the site you are using.
- Keep your personal details private—avoid posting personal information such as your full name, address, mobile number or school.
- Keep your password secret—don’t even share it with your friends.
- Manage your friend list—having too many online friends makes it harder to manage who can access your information. Don’t accept friend requests if you’re not sure about the person.
- Be careful who you trust online—a person can pretend to be someone they are not. If you want to arrange to meet someone you’ve met online, check with a parent first and ask them to go with you. Always meet in a public place, preferably during the day.
- Anything you add to your social networking site can be copied or printed, so if you want to put pictures up on your site, think before you post. Remember that your site may be seen by strangers and once a picture is online, it’s online forever.
- Treat people the way you want to be treated. Avoid using bad language and don’t say nasty things. If someone writes something rude, scary or something you don't like, tell your parents or another adult you trust.
Need to talk?
Has something happened online that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or sad?
Talking to friends and family can help. It can also help to talk to an expert about what’s happening. If you want to talk about a problem you can visit Kids Helpline or call them on 1800 55 1800. This service is private and free.
Where else can I go for information?
Advice about online and mobile chat and interactive services.
Easy Guide to Socialising Online
The Easy Guide to Socialising Online provides information on how internet users can protect themselves and their information when using social networking sites, search engines and online games.