I’m sure that your parents have already given you “house rules” for using the internet. They have told you not to put personal information in your online profiles. They also told you not to talk to people you do not know who contact you in emails, IMs or chat rooms, or to never privately meet up with anyone in person that you met on the internet. Your rules may look something like this or this . These are great rules to live by. Your parents are worried about your immediate safety.
But did you know that what you do today can also affect you in the future as well?
There is no such thing as privacy on the internet. People can find anything you post and, even if you delete it, they can save and keep what you posted and even repost it out there. That means groups you join, things that you say, status updates and pictures of yourself that you post can all come back to haunt you years later. Others can also post things about you or pictures you might not find flattering. Today, when applying for a job, there are employers who use the internet as a tool and go on line to “Google” you. Some colleges are doing this as well. It is possible that what they find there could have an affect on whether or not you get the job or into the college that you want, so be careful. Think before you post. Try it now: Google yourself and see what comes up!
Identity theft is another important reason not to share personal information online!
Thieves can use the personal information about you that they find to set up a fake identity (a pretend you). They can apply for credit cards, run up big bills and not pay it back. Later when you apply for a job, want to rent an apartment or try to get a credit card you won’t be able to because they have damaged your name. It can also ruin your credit score, which is basically your report card on how you pay your bills. You will then have to spend a lot of time trying to straighten out these fraudulent activities. This can follow you for many years. Information stays on your credit report for seven to ten years, so if you can’t get it removed right away, you may have to be explaining this problem for a long time!
How To Make Sure This Doesn’t Happen to You:
- Never ever share your social security or driver’s license number, bank account numbers, PIN’s or passwords online. Other than your parents, never share your passwords with anyone.
- Don’t share your home address and phone number online. Don’t update your Facebook status to, “In Florida for a week – woohoo!” This will alert criminals that you are not home and they can try to rob your house. Don’t believe it? Check out this article that explains how it works:
- All papers you have with any of this information on them should always be shredded up completely before you put it in the trash. Be very careful what you throw out. Dumpster diving is when people look through your trash to find your information to steal your identity.
- Explore being net smart further.
- Don’t bully others online or post while you’re angry. You could get the reputation that you’re a trouble maker, and leave a trail of bad posts under your name, which will not look good to future employers or colleges. Take the high road.
What are some of your “house rules” for internet safety?