Texting and connecting online
Texting, sending pics, posting updates — technology is a great way to stay connected. Of course, there can be downsides to all the sharing, too. So it's important to take steps to take good care of yourself and others. Flip each card for more info.
Texts and chats can fly so fast that we forget to focus on kindness. Try not to write anything you wouldn't say face-to-face.
Think someone is being rude? Cool off before replying. Ask what the person meant. Messages can be unclear because they lack clues, like the look on a person's face.
Don't just follow the crowd.
Sometimes, teens use websites and other online tools to insult or make mean jokes about someone. You may feel like you're just joining in on the fun, but you're joining in cyberbullying.
Protect your privacy.
Learn about privacy and security controls on social sites. But keep in mind that your info still may be seen by people you do not choose, including parents and teachers. Also, if you share personal information like your birthdate, people can use it to steal from you. Learn more about online safety.
Speak up for yourself.
If people message you in ways that make you uncomfortable, ask them to stop. If they don't, you may need help from an adult. Remember, no one should use texts or other tools to check on you all the time or boss you around. Learn about signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Get the whole picture.
People may "tweak" their image online in ways that can affect how you think about them (and yourself!). In one survey, 74% of girls agreed that girls use social networking sites to seem "cooler" than they are. Tune out the pretending and be yourself! Pick friends who appreciate you for who you truly are.
Cover up before you click.
Remember that sexy photos can easily wind up in the wrong hands. Plus, teens caught sexting can get in trouble with the law.
Give yourself a break.
Most of us need a little self–esteem boost at times. Just don't go looking for it in the wrong places. For example, try not to keep checking your "likes." And resist the urge to post a video asking if you're pretty. Remember, people have different tastes — and real beauty comes from the inside. Try to boost your self-esteem in healthy ways.
How much do you know about who is following you online? Check out the Friend Finder game for info on staying safe on social sites.
Content last reviewed March 27, 2015
Page last updated June 12, 2015