“But Mom, he / she is my friend. We have been talking for months online and I can tell them everything!” For youth who have disabilities it is sometimes difficult to make friends. Many of the youth rely on the internet or multiplayer games to make friends who have similar interests online. We need to constantly remind them to be careful.
Here are some more tips to keep in mind:
1. Photos. Don’t post photos or videos online without getting your parents’ permission.
2. Online Friends. Don’t agree to meet an online friend unless you have your parents’ permission. Unfortunately, sometimes people pretend to be people they aren't. Remember that not everything you read online is true.
3. Online Ads. Don’t buy anything online without talking to your parents first. Some ads may try to trick you by offering free things or telling you that you have won something as a way of collecting your personal information.
4. Downloading. Talk to your parents before you open an email attachment or download software. Attachments sometimes contain viruses. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know.
5. Bullying. Don’t send or respond to mean or insulting messages. Tell your parents if you receive one. If something happens online that makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to your parents or to a teacher at school.
6. Social Networking. Many social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Second Life and MySpace) and blog hosting websites have minimum age requirements to signup. These requirements are there to protect you!