One of the most therapeutic activities a person can do is to write about their thoughts, daily experiences, personal interactions and feelings. Before the internet most of this was done via a ‘journal’ or ‘diary’ that was often held under lock and key and typically not shared. With the dawning of the internet, social web sites, blogging and tweeting I would conjecture that more and more people are putting what they once put into diaries onto the internet in some form. With four writers making contributions to this blog it is often easy to see that we share quite a diverse range of thoughts and feelings about topics effecting both society and us.
With this open sharing does come some concerns for the safety of our adult writers. We have some practices that promote this and what I’d like to do today is adapt and expand these to benefit teens and young adults who are writing on the internet. It is these individuals who need to learn the safe way to write on the internet. The best individuals to help teens learn this are the parents but if they don’t feel qualified or that they have the time they might check with the school, local library, Boys and Girls Club or local tutor doctor agency for a professional to help.
Some general tips adapted from the American Library Association are:
Be anonymous. Avoid postings that could help a stranger to locate you. This includes your last name, address, phone numbers, sports teams, the town you live in, and where you hang out.
Protect your info. Check to see if your service has a ‘friends’ list that allows you to decide who can visit your profile or blog. If so, allow only people you know and trust.
Avoid in-person meetings. Don’t get together with someone you ‘meet’ in a profile or blog unless you are certain of their actual identity. Talk it over with an adult first. Although it’s still not risk-free, arrange any meetings in a public place and bring along some friends, your parents, or a trusted adult.
Think before you post. What’s uploaded to the internet can be downloaded by anyone and passed around or posted online pretty much forever. Avoid posting photos that allow people to identify you, especially sexually suggestive images.
Check comments regularly. Don’t respond to mean or embarrassing comments. All you will do is escalate the situation by responding. Also be leery of overly ‘nice’ or personal comments.
Be honest about your age. Membership rules are there to protect people. If you are too young to sign up, don’t lie about your age.
For additional information and videos you can check out some very informative information at: