2/20/08
Kimberly found this article at-
http://www.leonline.com/yalsa/meg_blog/smart_blogging.doc
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Smart Blogging-
Making wise choices
to protect yourself on the Internet

General Safety
1. Remove yourself from situations that make you uncomfortable
You’re likely to come across blogs on the Internet that make you uncomfortable. Some might have harsh language, opinions with which you don’t agree, inappropriate sexual matter, violence, or other context you find disturbing. Remember, when you encounter sites that make you uncomfortable, you can remove yourself immediately. Hit the back button – it’s that simple.

Protect yourself and your Privacy
1.Never give out personal information without checking with your parents first.
2.Never put your full name, telephone, address, school, or other identifying information on your blog. This includes local school sports teams and the places you hang out with friends. It is not recommended that you post your photo, either – these are easy ways for predators to identify you and track you down.
3.Share what you post on the Internet with your parents. This doesn’t mean they need to read it every day, but if you’re not comfortable sharing what you’re writing with them, chances are the information could put you in danger – with your friends, or on a personal safety level.

4.Keep your personal profile private; select your preferences so that this information does not display to the public unless you are certain there is no information that makes you easily identified.
5.Never lie about your age when you sign up for a blog.
6.Never meet with someone you meet online or through a blog. If you plan to do so, consult an adult and meet in a public place with an adult or large group of friends.
7.Control your “friends” list on your blog very carefully. Use caution when adding strangers to your list. Be extremely careful when adding information you post that can be accessed by people outside your friends list.
8.If you allow unknown persons to post comments to your blog, check them regularly and deleted comments that are mean, threatening, or that could embarrass you or your friends. Don’t respond to flaming messages – just delete them, and block these kinds of individuals from posting to your blog in the future.


The Golden Rule

Treat others as you wish to be treated online and in daily life. Be careful what you say about yourself and others on your blog. Even if you’re not giving the address out, it’s still possible for your friends, peers, teachers, or school counselors to find your site and read it. It’s good to express yourself, but be sure that what you’re writing is not disrespectful, hurtful, or bullying in any way.



2/20/08
Nick T. found this article at:
http://www.netalert.gov.au/advice/services/blogs/Why_are_blogs_popular_and_what_are_their_benefits.html

Blogs are very popular with children aged 13-19 and young adults aged 20-29. They give people the opportunity to publish on the Internet their thoughts and reflections of issues important to them.
Children update blogs as regularly as they please – some updating information daily whilst others may only update occasionally or never update their blog at all.
Blogs give children the ability to share their views with friends or the public. They can improve writing and grammatical skills as well as keyboarding and basic Internet skills. Some children prefer using blogs over traditional forms of writing.
Parents and teachers can use blogs as creative writing support tools for children. Safe and private blog systems can be set up on school computers for children to use within their class.

2/20/08
Werner found this article at:
http://www.safeteens.com/teen-guide-to-safe-blogging/
Unlike the articles we write for parents and teachers, we don’t have to give you a course in blogging basics. As a teen, you’ve probably visited your share of blogs or “spaces,” and there’s a good chance you may have your own blog. If so, congratulations. Even adults like us who have some concerns about bloggers’ safety and privacy applaud the fact that teens are increasingly taking advantage of the Internet’s great communications tools. Millions of teenagers maintain their own blogs. In fact, a study done at Georgetown University shows that more than half of all blogs are maintained by people 13-19.
So let’s talk about safety and privacy. As you know, when you’re online you’re out in public, and that’s definitely true if you have a blog that’s accessible to anyone on the Net. We don’t need to tell you that there are creeps out there who might want to jeopardize your personal safety or steal your or your family’s money. It’s just a sad fact of life on the Net. Federal law-enforcement people confirm that online predators are very interested in teen blogging. That’s why some of the blogging services have privacy features that let you control who can access your blog. And that’s what this is about - giving you control. Check with your service to see what types of restrictions you can put on your blog and use them. In most cases it is possible to communicate with your friends or your friends’ friends without having to open yourself up to the entire Internet.
One of the nice things about blogs is that you can post just about anything. But just because you can post anything doesn’t mean you should. Remember, anything you post can not only be seen by others but can easily be copied and stored. So, what you post can be held against you. Something that seems very cool right now may not seem so cool two or three years from now, when you’re sending around applications for schools or jobs. So think just a bit about your future before you post that incendiary comment or that inappropriate photo. Besides, what may seem appropriate or even funny to friends right now can be used against you when there are disagreements, breakups, etc. - in blogs, email, IMs, and even file-sharing networks.
As you know, people online are not always who they appear to be so be very careful about the type of relationship you establish or information you give to people you meet through your blog or blogs you visit. The same goes for in-person meetings. The fact is you just shouldn’t meet people in person who you only know from the Internet. They may be great but you never really know, do you? If you do, make sure you do so in a public place and bring along at least one friend – the more and bigger the better. Your school’s football team should do the job nicely. Never, ever, agree to meet someone alone. Seriously, you really need to be careful because you never really know who an online “friend” may actually be or what his or her intentions are.
You also need to be aware of your blogging service’s rules or “terms of service.” Violating them not only risks your getting kicked off the service but they’re usually there for some good reasons: to protect you, to protect others and to keep you on the correct side of the law. Most of the rules are pretty obvious - don’t send spam, don’t distribute viruses and other harmful code, don’t stalk, threaten or harass anyone and don’t turn your blog into a porn site. While everyone in America - including teen bloggers -has First Amendment rights, you still need to be careful about what you say, especially about others. Being mean to other people is not only, well, mean, it can in some circumstances be illegal if you cross certain lines.
One last thing. You may not want to share your blog with your parents, but they do have some legal rights and obligations. We recommend that you do give them the web address of your blog and it’s a very good idea to talk with them about what you’re doing and reassure them that you understand basic safety and privacy rules. Not only can that make for peace in the family, but they might learn something along the way. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something too.


this website was found by Liz:
http://www.netalert.net.au/02582-How-can-children-stay-safe-using-blogs.asp

How can Children Stay Safe Using Blogs?

When creating a blog, there are a number of things to remember in order to stay safe.

When Selecting a Blog Website

  • Select an Age Appropriate Blog Website - When selecting a website to create your blog through, look for ones which other people your age are using. This way you will be able to contact people with similar interests.
  • Read the Privacy Statement – Look to see if the website has a privacy statement. If it does, read it and take note of what may happen to any information you enter. If there is no privacy statement, look for another website to create your blog through.
  • Look for Support – See if the blog website has good support. There should be a FAQ section as well as an email address that you can use to mail any problems to.
  • Other Services – See what other services are available on the blog website. Do you want for instance, other people to contact or chat to you when you are blogging?
  • Costs – Look to see if there are any costs involved with creating and maintaining your blog. You don’t want any hidden surprises later on!

Once you Have Become a Member of a Blog Website

  • Hide your Account Login Details - Once you have become a member of the blog website, hide your login details so that others cannot gain access to your membership information and user profile.
  • Blog Topic – Select a topic for your blog that is sensible and you think other would enjoy reading about.
  • Password Protect your Blog – Make sure nobody else can enter information into your blog.
  • Email - Use an email that is not identifiable. Use your online name instead of your first name and surname.
  • Use of Avatars and Photos – Select a picture of an avatar that suits your personality but doesn’t disclose your identity. Don't use your own photo on your blog.
  • Hide Profile from Public View - If possible stop others from looking at your profile by password protecting it, or setting up any options that let only those people you choose to view it.

When you are Blogging

  • Personal Information - Never enter in personal details or anything that can identify you. Remember, once something is entered on the Internet it is often very hard to remove.
  • Correct Information - Make sure the information you place into your blog is grammatically correct and the spelling is accurate.
  • Be Nice to People - Make sure you treat other people with respect and only write about people if you have their permission. Never disclose any personal information about your friends or family.

Other Things you can do

  • Hide your Blog from Search Engines – You may wish to prevent your blog from ending up in the search engines. Most blog sites describe ways to do this.
  • Look at your Blog Statistics – If your blog has statistics available, watch out to see if there are any patterns emerging about your popular entries.

Megan found this information at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/children/kidblog.mspx

The practice of blogging, short for keeping a "Web log" or online personal journal, has spread like wildfire—especially among teenagers, who sometimes maintain blogs without the knowledge of their parents or guardians.
Recent studies show that teenagers write roughly half of all blogs today, with two out of three providing their age, three out of five revealing their location and contact information, and one in five revealing their full name. It should go without saying that there are potential risks in sharing this type of detailed personal information.
And, as more young peers create more blogs, they tend to compete increasingly with each other for attention. Sometimes this can lead to kids posting inappropriate material such as provocative pictures of themselves or their friends.

A quick blogging primer for parents

Although keeping a blog offers potential benefits including improved writing skills and communication, it's important to educate your kids about the Internet and blogging before they begin—much like completing driving school before hitting the road solo. Here are a few suggestions to get started:

Establish rules for online use with your kids and be diligent.


Screen what your kids plan to post before they post it. Seemingly innocuous information, such as a school mascot and town photo, could be put together to reveal where the author goes to school.


Ask yourself (and instruct your kids to do the same) if you are you comfortable showing any of the content to a stranger. If in doubt, have them take it out.


Evaluate the blogging service and find out if it offers private, password-protected blogs.


Save the Web address of your child's blog and review it on a regular basis.


Check out other blogs to find positive examples for your kids to emulate.
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