Whether you want to check the weather, catch up with a friend, search for the best deal on that new video game, or do research for a school project, the computer and internet can be a great resource!  With loads of information, pictures, and access to thousands of people, it can be a way to broaden your horizons and learn about the world.  The internet can be quite overwhelming, however, and sometimes a bit scary.  Although I’m just a dog and most of what I look up are silly cat videos (have you seen the one in the shark costume riding the Roomba?!? HILARIOUS!), I still follow some rules my parents set to make sure I stay safe and keep others safe too.  Here are some rules my family came up with- I hope you follow them too and surf responsibly!

 

  • Never give out any personal information. To help you remember things NOT to share think of YAPPY (like a little dog), which stands for Your full name, Address, Phone number, Passwords, Your Planned or current activities.
  • Always ask an adult if you’re unsure of anything online- better safe than sorry! Not only is this for your safety, but there are many online viruses that can really mess up your computer.
  • Do not add people as online friends unless you know them in real life or have parents’ permission. And never agree to meet someone in person (even if you know them in real life) unless approved by a parent.
  • Not everything you read online is true! WHAT?!?  Unfortunately, people lie and it happens all the time online- from news articles to gossip from your best friend.
  • Don’t put anything online you wouldn’t want your grandma to see or read. Just remember, your digital pawprint is there to stay!  You may be just a pup now, but one day you will want to get accepted into college or land that dream job.  Just think, what impressions are you giving off with your pictures or comments??
  • GOLDEN RULE: Treat others how you would like to be treated, even online.  Cyber bullying is serious!  If you are being bullied, know someone who is being bullied, or know someone who is the bully, speak up.  Being embarrassed, threatened, or harassed online can lead to hurt feelings, loss of friendship, and have serious consequences for everyone involved.