How to avoid getting personal
Online safety is a huge issue. It is easy to design a list of do's and don'ts but it is more difficult to apply this list to reality. Here is a list of how to answer uncomfortable or protentially unsafe questions.
- Instead of giving out your full name, give out a nickname, your middle name or first name only.
- If someone asks where you live, you don't have to give them the name of your street. Instead, tell them the country, state or province you live in.
- No one needs to know the name of your school. Instead, tell them what grade you are in.
- Never give out the names of your teachers. Instead of saying you are in Mrs. Brown's class, say, "I am in Mrs. B's class".
- The same goes for classmates, friends and relatives. Instead, use mom and dad, Uncle Goat and Aunt Cat, my friend M or cousin B, my brother 2 small or my sister 2 tall.
- If someone asks what you look like, you should never give out your measurements or style secrets (such as, I always wear a pink top). Instead, tell them your hair and eye color and how tall you are.
- You do not have to tell someone the name of a club or sports team you belong too. Instead you can just tell them you play hockey, soccer or baseball and you belong to Brownies or Cubs.
- People do not need to know your routine schedule. For example, if you have Cubs every thursday night, say, "I have Cubs this week".
- If someone asks for your phone number you should never give it out. Instead, tell the person you will talk to your parents about that and get back to them later.
- It is OK not to answer a question you think is too personal or makes you feel incomfortable. Just tell your pen pal the truth. "I am not comfortable answering that question" or "That question is too personal to answer".
- If you feel uncomfortable talking to someone online, chances are their behaviour is inappropriate. Tell your parents or guardians.
- Let your parents or guardians know when you will be online and make sure they are home. They can help you answer other personal questions safety.
- Keep a list of emergancy phone numbers by the computer. You never know when you may need them.
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