Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 8

October 22nd, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The eighth article in this series is about Online Friends.

If you missed last week’s post about Netiquette, click here. Also, if you would like to see the list of the whole series of articles from Cybersmart, click here.

Online Friends

Chatting to friends using IM, in chat rooms and on social networking sites can be great ways to keep up to date. Meeting new friends online is also pretty fun, and you can meet people online that like the same movies or sports as you.

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.

To help stay safe while you chat, remember some simple tips:

Tips

  • Be careful who you trust online. A person can pretend to be someone they are not.
  • Choose your friends. While it’s good to have a lot of friends, having too many makes it harder to keep an eye on who sees the stuff you post online. Don’t accept friend requests if you’re not sure about the person.
  • Keep your personal details private. Use a nickname instead of your real name if you are in a site or game where there may be lots of people you don’t know. Ask your parents before giving anyone on the internet your name, address, phone number or any other personal details.
  • Set your profile to private, or ask your parents to help you do this.
  • Always keep your password secret. Don’t even share it with your friends.
  • 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.
  • If someone writes something rude, scary or something you don’t like, tell your parents or another adult you trust.

Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 7

October 15th, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The seventh article in this series is about Netiquette.

If you missed last week’s post about staying legal on the Internet, click here. Also, check back next week to learn more about online friends.

Netiquette

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the other person you are chatting to on IM, playing a game with, or posting to their profile is a real person. It’s easier to say and do things online that you might not do in ‘real life’. This may hurt that person’s feelings or make them feel unsafe or embarrassed. It’s important to be kind and polite to others online—and to stop and think about how your behavior will affect them.

Tips

  • Treat other people the way you would like to be treated. Avoid using bad language and don’t say things to someone to make them feel bad.
  • Learn about the ‘netiquette’ of being online. What’s considered okay to do and say and what isn’t? For example, if you type a message to someone in UPPER CASE they may think you are shouting at them.
  • If someone says something rude or something that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t respond. Leave the chat room or forum straight away.
  • Tell your parents or another adult you trust if you read upsetting language, or see nasty pictures or something scary.

 

Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 6

October 8th, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The sixth article in this series is about Staying Legal on the internet.

If you missed last week’s post about your digital footprint, click here. Also, check back next week to learn more about “Netiquette.”

Staying Legal

The internet is a great place for sharing stuff, but you need to remember that you are responsible for what you share online. And that means there can be a very serious side to all the fun.

Tips

  • Respect other people’s content. If you want to post content or images that aren’t yours, ask first. Check with your mum or dad before you pass on content that you find online to other people.
  • Read the terms and conditions of any photo-sharing sites or other sites on which you can post information. Ask your mum or dad to run through the details so you’re clear about what’s expected of you as a user.
  • Check any age limits on a website. If you’re not the right age, find another site to visit.
  • Think before you hit send or post. Once posted, it can be online forever. Don’t post anything you don’t want others to know—or that you wouldn’t say to them face to face.

Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 5

October 1st, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The fifth article in this series is about your digital footprint.

If you missed last week’s post about playing online games, click here. Also, check back next week to learn more about staying legal on the internet.

Your Digital Footprint

It’s great to share things online with your friends. Part of the fun of sharing videos, images and other content, is that lots of people can view and respond. Remember that what you share with your friends may also be viewed by others who you don’t know. They may also be able to look at it for years to come. Everything you post adds up to make your digital footprint and, once it’s online, it could be there forever. So think before you post.

 Tips

  • Keep your personal details private. Use an appropriate nickname instead of your real name. Ask your parents before giving anyone on the internet your name, address, phone number or any other personal details.
  • Don’t share your username or password with anyone.
  • Think before you hit send or post. Once posted, it can be difficult to remove content.
  • Don’t post anything you don’t want others to know or find out about—or that you wouldn’t say to them face to face.
  • Remember that private images and videos you send to friends or post on a social networking site may be passed on to others and uploaded to public sites.
  • Be respectful of other people’s content that you post or share. For example, a photo that your friend took is their property, not yours. You should post it online only if you have their permission and make a note about where you got it from.

Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 4

September 24th, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The fourth in this series is about playing online games.

If you missed last week’s post about dealing with offensive or illegal content online, click here. Also, check back next week to learn more about your “digital footprint.”

Playing online Games

Playing games online and using consoles or games on a computer can be great fun, but you need to be careful about how much you play and who you play with. Sometimes, if you are using a console, you can play games online with other people instead of going into game sites. It is important that if you chat with other gamers you protect your privacy and don’t share personal or private information. If you are unsure whether a game is suitable, ask your parents or a trusted adult to check its classification and reviews for you

 Tips

  • If another player is behaving badly or making you uncomfortable, block them from your players list. You may also be able to report them to the game site operator.
  • Limit your game play time so you can still do other things like homework, jobs around the house and hanging out with your friends.
  • Keep personal details private.
  • Remember to make time offline for your friends, your favorite sports and other activities.
  • Some websites will ask you to pay money to play a game. Make sure you talk to your parents about this and they agree to make the payment.
  • Remember that some websites are designed to make money for the company providing the service—not the player of the game. Make sure you understand the terms of the game before making any payment.

[Via Cybersmart]

Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 3

September 17th, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The third in this series is about dealing with offensive or illegal content online.

If you missed last week’s post about Unwanted contact, click here. Also, check back next week to learn more about playing online games.

Offensive or Illegal Content

When you’re surfing the web you may come across websites, photos, text or other material that makes you feel uncomfortable or upset. There are some easy ways to handle these situations.

Tips

  • Tell your parents or another trusted adult if you come across material that upsets you.
  • Know how to ‘escape’ from a website if an internet search takes you to an unpleasant or nasty website. Hit control-alt-delete if the site will not allow you to exit.
  • If a website looks suspicious or has a warning page for people under 18 years, leave immediately. Some sites are not meant for kids.
  • Check with your parents that your search engine is set to block material that is meant for adults.
  • Ask your parents to install internet filter software to block bad sites.
  • Ask your parents to help you find safe and fun sites to use and bookmark for later.

[Via Cybersmart]

Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 2

September 10th, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The second in this series is called Unwanted Contact.

If you missed last week’s post about Cyberbullying, click here. Also, check back next week to learn more about “dealing with offensive or illegal content online.”

Unwanted contact

Sometimes you can meet someone or see something online that is unpleasant or makes you feel uncomfortable. This could be communication from someone you met online who starts asking personal questions or sends you photos or material that are upsetting or that you don’t like. It can sometimes be from someone you know.

What should you do?

Tips

  • Tell someone. Tell your mum, dad, an older brother or sister, or another adult you trust.
  • Don’t respond to messages and leave the site or chat session immediately.
  • Block the contact using your ‘ignore’ list or with filtering software.
  • Keep the evidence. This can be useful in tracking the person posting unsuitable material or asking you questions.
  • Report it. Ask your parents to contact your ISP and/or phone provider or the website administrator, as there are actions they can take to help. You can also report it to the police if there is a threat to your safety.
  • Set your profile to ‘private’ so your personal details are kept secret and it’s harder for people you don’t know to contact you.
  • Don’t open messages from people you don’t know. They could be nasty, contain viruses or be trying to sell you something.

Tips to Stay Safe and Cybersmart Part 1

September 4th, 2012 by

Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The first article in this series is called Cyberbullying.

Check back next week to learn more about “Unwanted Contact.”

Cyberbullying

The same rules apply online as in the ‘real world’ about how to treat other people. Unfortunately, people don’t always treat each other well online, and you, or a friend, may find that you are the target of cyberbullying. You might be teased or have rumors spread about you online, receive nasty messages or even threats. It can happen in school, or out of it, any hour of the day, from people you know, and sometimes people you don’t know. It can leave you feeling unsafe and alone.

No-one has the right to bully another person. At its most serious, cyberbullying is illegal and can be investigated by the police.

 Tips

If you are being cyberbullied

  • Ignore it. Don’t respond to the bully. If they don’t get a response they may get bored and go away.

  • Block the person. This will stop you seeing messages or texts from a particular person.

  • Tell someone. Tell your (mom) or dad, or another adult you trust.

  • Keep the evidence. This can be useful in tracking the bully down. Save texts, emails, online conversations or voicemails as proof.

  • Report it to:

Your school—they should have policies in place about bullying and cyberbullying.

Your ISP and/or phone provider or the website administrator—there are actions they can take to help.

The police—if there is a threat to your safety the police will help.

If a friend is being cyberbullied

It can be hard to know if your friends are being cyberbullied. They might keep it to themselves. If they are being cyberbullied, you might notice that they may not chat with you online as much, suddenly receive lots of SMS messages or are unhappy after they have been on the computer or checked their phone messages. They may stop hanging around with friends or have lost interest in school or social activities.

Help stop cyberbullying

  • Stand up and speak out!If you see or know about cyberbullying happening to a friend, support them and report the bullying. You’d want them to do the same for you.
  • Don’t forward on messages or pictures that may hurt or be upsetting to someone. Even though you may not have started it, you will be seen to be part of the cyberbullying cycle.
  • Remember to treat others as you would like to be treated when communicating online.

 

Water Safety at Home

August 14th, 2012 by

The home environment has many hidden drowning hazards for children. Drowning deaths can occur not only in pools and spas, but in bathtubs, toilets and buckets. Keep these safety tips in mind to make your home safer from these hidden hazards.


LOCK

  • Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
  • Large 5-gallon buckets are common household items and may be a potential hazard. Empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside-down and out of children’s reach.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks. According to the CPSC, toilets are overlooked as a source of drowning in the home – toddlers can fall headfirst into the toilet.
  • Once bath time is over, immediately drain the tub.

 

LOOK

  • Always stay within an arm’s reach of your child when he or she is in or near pools, spas, bathtubs, toilets or buckets.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a tub or around any other body of water, even if he or she knows how to swim.
  • Never leave your child alone or in the care of older children during bath time.
  • Children in baby bath seats and rings must be watched every second.

 

LEARN

  • Learn adult and infant CPR.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • One-third as many children under age 5 drown from other hazards around the home as drown in pools (CPSC).
  • Two-thirds of drowning deaths in the home, not including pools, occur in bathtubs (CPSC).
  • Home swimming pools are the most common place for a child younger than age 5 to drown.

 

DOWNLOADS

  • Tips to Prevent Drownings at Home

http://www.safekids.org/assets/docs/safety-basics/safety-tips-by-risk-area/tips-to-prevent-drownings-at-home.pdf

 

For more info please visit: Safety Kids USA

Photo by Will Merydith

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Up the Barbie

July 11th, 2012 by

Image of Fire in grill

Having been raised along the coast and within walking distance of the beach, my family loved to barbecue as often as possible. We would fill our hibachi with charcoal, pour on a generous amount of lighter fluid, throw a lit match on top, and voila, an impressive fire would kindle the briquettes to a deep red glow. The trouble was, sometimes the fire was not big enough to start the charcoal. I would, as a 7 or 8 year old, squirt lighter fluid on the small fire to speed things along. Looking back I wonder where my parents were, and how I managed to avoid igniting myself as the fluid streamed out of the can! To help in this outdoor season, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has outlined a few “grilling safety tips.”

Safety tips

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal grills

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Propane grills
Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

 

These tips can be viewed in a safety poster the NFPA published. 
(http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/Public%20Education/Grilling_Safety_tips.pdf )

Photo was taken by Tanjila Ahmed.

 


About the author:

Jack C. Putnam grew up in Laguna Beach California. He spent two years teaching and doing humanitarian service in Africa as a young adult. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Child Development/Family Science, and a master’s degree in School Psychology. Jack is married and has 5 children and 4 grandchildren.