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Get answers to frequently asked questions around online safety.
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Do you spend more time on your phone or on the computer?

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  • The pledge is a way for children to talk with their parents or guardians about how they are spending their time online. By creating a pledge, family members can agree to not give out personal information, to not set up offline meetings, and more. It’s a simple way to stay safe online. Go here to fill out the pledge with your family.

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  • Talking with parents or guardians doesn’t mean giving up your privacy. Everyone benefits when children and parents are on the same page about online activities, including when children can go online, how long they can stay online, and what activities they can do online.

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  • Yahoo! Safely Parents is a site designed it to help parents and guardians:

    • Keep their children safe on the Internet.
    • Navigate the bewildering world of technology for children and families.
    • Open the dialogue between parents and teens about online safety.

    Our library contains articles and resources about online safety and ways to get involved from leading organizations.

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  • You know what bullying is — you see children bully other children at school or you hear one person say something nasty about someone else behind her back. Cyberbullying is no different. You might receive mean or insulting text or instant messages from someone you thought was your friend. Or a supposed friend might pretend to be you and post false information or unflattering photos on a website. This is cyberbullying.

    Cyberbullying is defined as any cyber-communication posted or sent by a minor that is intended to frighten, embarrass, harass, or otherwise target another minor. If there aren’t children on both sides of the communication, it is considered cyberharassment, but the two terms mean pretty much the same thing.

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  • The website will review the report and determine whether the user’s actions really were “abuse” as outlined in the website’s Terms of Service (TOS). If the website finds that the actions were against the TOS, then it will take appropriate action, which may include giving the user a warning, removing the user’s ID from their site, or if bad enough, even reporting the actions to law enforcement. These consequences are kept confidential.

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  • If you are ever harassed or mistreated online or if you come across offensive or illegal pictures, videos, or text, click the Report Abuse link most often located in the footer of the page where the abuse has occurred and let us know about it.

    If you get a message that you don’t feel right about, that disturbs you, or that makes you feel angry, bad, or sad, don’t respond. Instead, show it to  a trusted person for a second opinion. And make sure that you report the incident to the service provider by using the reporting tools that may be available on the website you are using.  This way, we can address the abuse ourselves. These reports are kept confidential.

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  • When chatting online, playing games, or posting messages, keep in mind that you don’t always know the people you are communicating with. Always use caution when approached by someone unknown, just as you would in real life. Reject invitations from unknown users and never respond to email or instant messages that make you feel uncomfortable. Tell someone about any personal or sexual questions or comments from a stranger online. Many Yahoo! services also allow you to block or ignore specific users. Choose a specific service to learn how to set up this blocking. And remember, you can always report abuse to Yahoo! if you receive a message that makes you uncomfortable.

    You should never arrange a face-to-face meeting with an online-only acquaintance without involving another trusted person. The Internet can be a great way to chat with people who have similar interests, but unfortunately, people are not always who they seem or say they are.

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  • You have the right to enjoy your time online. You have the right to feel safe and to feel free to explore the wealth of content and community that is available through a variety of online services. You have the right to not respond to email or other messages that are inappropriate or make you feel scared. Harassing, threatening, and posting obscene or otherwise objectionable content on Yahoo! is not allowed and is considered abuse.

    If you get a message that you don’t feel right about, that disturbs you, or that makes you feel angry, bad, or sad, don’t respond. Instead, show it to a trusted person for a second opinion. And make sure that you report the incident to the service provider by clicking the Report Abuse link. This way, we can address the abuse ourselves. These reports are kept confidential.

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  • All safety advice applies to mobile devices too! Maybe more so, because you have your mobile device with you everywhere. For more about Yahoo! Mobile and how to use your devices safely, check out the Yahoo! Mobile Safety Guide.

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  • Since what you post will almost always be linked to you, don’t post revealing personal information like your name, address, or passwords.

    Don’t post stuff that will reflect negatively on you. If it’s something you wouldn’t want your family or employer to see, it shouldn’t go in a public space online. Remember that once something is posted online, you can quickly loose control of it. It’s easy for other people to take it, share it, edit it, and post it in other places. Always think before you post!

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  • As long as it’s not abusive or against any terms of service, you can post pretty much anything online. You can post blog entries about your favorite music, sports, movies, or television shows. Post short videos of your friends and family. Post pictures from a recent vacation, a link to a news story, or a review of the movie you saw last week.

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  • Never give your password out. If someone gains access to your password, they can read your mail, and obtain other personal and identifiable information. They can change your profile, play pranks using your name, and possibly get you kicked off your service. They can also change your password and lock you out of your account!

    Choose a password that is easy for you to remember but cannot be easily guessed. You may want to change your password frequently, even once a month (but make sure you remember it!). Be careful if someone is watching you enter your password — they could look over your shoulder and steal it. It’s important to know the difference between real-life friends and online friends. Chatting with people you grew up with is very different than chatting with someone you only know online. An online friend may not be someone you can trust. So be smart when you talk with people you don’t know in real life — never give out information that will allow them to find you offline.

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  • Internet conversations let you keep in touch with friends, but keeping those conversations (and your user names/profiles) free of personal information like your password, full name, and even the name of your employer or school is important.

    It’s also very important to protect your identity by not posting personal information online. Personal details such as last name, address, phone numbers, employer or school name, and date of birth can be used to identify you in real life. It’s also a good idea to learn about the role of websites’ privacy policies. You can review the Yahoo! Privacy Policy here.

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  • Since your ID is how the online community will identify you, it’s important to choose one that represents you, but doesn’t give away private information. You don't want strangers to know too much about you just from seeing your ID.

    For example, if you choose the name "Butterflyfan" as your ID, it will tell the world that you are fond of butterflies. Fine. There's little risk of someone being able to distinguish one fan of butterflies from the millions of others out there in the world. But the name "Butterflies4Jane" goes a little further. It gives strangers a name that they could use to pretend they know you.

    Remember to have fun choosing your ID. But always leave out this personal information:

    • First and last name
    • Address
    • Phone numbers
    • Current or past employer or school name
    • The names of family members

    Instead, try one similar to these examples:

    • Colors — blueskies123, purplepassion
    • Animals — leapinglizard, flyinghorse
    • Music —yourguitarhero, drummrfann
    • Sports — soccerc
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  • Think about what you post or share online. If it’s not something you’d share with everyone from your friends to a potential employer, don’t put it out there. This includes inappropriate pictures, negative comments, and extremely personal information.  Do you want a cousin to tell other family members about a late-night status update you posted??  What about your future boss finding a  revealing photo of you from a beach trip?  Think twice before sharing.

    Another way to help keep a good digital reputation is to be nice (and pass it on). Be respectful online and treat people the way you’d want to be treated. And remember not to say anything to people online that you wouldn’t say to their faces.

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  • Your digital reputation is how people see you based on what you post and share online — including blog entries, comments, photos, and social networking profiles. Even people who know you personally — like friends and family — may find out new things about you from what you post online.  That’s why it’s important to keep your digital reputation looking good.

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