Kids 12-14

Welcome to B4UClick

Hi Teens,

How much do you know about online safety?

 

It’s probably not something you think about when you’re playing games, chatting with your friends, or looking for new music. But online safety is one of the most important things to know before you log on to the Internet.

 

This site is all about learning how to make smart, safe decisions when you’re having fun online. Whether you’re searching for something, gaming with your friends, or meeting new people in chat rooms, we’ll give you the tools you need to keep yourself and your computer safe from harm.

If you’re between 12 and 14, you know how much fun it is using the Internet . Playing games, chatting with your friends, listening to music, and watching your favorite TV shows are probably things you do all the time on your computer at home or at school.

 

These things are all great, but they can also be very dangerous if you don’t know how to stay safe online. This section will teach you how to protect yourself from dangers like online bullies, adult websites, and computer viruses that could show up in your favorite online activities.

Emailing

Emails are a great way to keep in touch with people and share pictures, videos, and homework with your friends. But emails are also a great way for hackers and spammers to send you tempting messages that look like real emails.

 

If an email comes from an address or name you don’t know, don’t open it. It could be a virus that ruins your computer or hacks your email account.

 

Sometimes your friends’ email accounts can get hacked and send you spam messages. If you ever get an email from someone you know that has a weird subject line, don’t open it. It’s probably a virus. Instead, delete it right away and tell you friend they might have been hacked.

File Sharing

It’s easy to share files online. In fact, sharing documents, pictures, and even videos is a great way to work with people for school projects, homework assignments, and even just for fun.

But before you go uploading your favorite music and videos online, or downloading the latest “One Direction” song, know the facts about illegal uploading and downloading:

  • Downloading a music or video file without paying for it is illegal. Songs and movies have something called copyright on them, which means they can’t be copied or shared without the proper payment.
  • Sharing files found on file sharing websites is also illegal. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean that you can share it with your friends. This can get you into big trouble.
  • Files located on file sharing sites are often low quality. Sometimes it’s better to pay for the real thing because you’ll be getting a better sound or picture.

Sites that offer easy downloading of new music or videos often have computer viruses attached to their files. Some sites are even dishonest about the files they provide, saying that the file is a hot new song when it’s really a pornographic or violent video.

 

Always think before you download. Is it really worth getting in trouble or potentially harming your computer?

Gaming

Games are probably the best part of the Internet. There are tons of games available to play online, ranging from super easy games that take a few minutes to super difficult games that can take months or even years to beat.

 

Some of the most popular games online are MMORPGs, also known as massive multiplayer online role playing games. These are usually set in fantasy worlds where you can complete quests in teams or by yourself for items and in-game money. The people you team up with can either be your friends or random people who also play the game.

 

Many gaming sites have a built-in chatting component so teammates and friends can talk while playing or between quests. This is great for communication, but like anything else, you have to be careful about what you say and who you talk to. Not everyone who plays MMORPGs or other online games will be your age, and sometimes people won’t tell the truth about themselves.

 

Remember these tips to stay safe while playing games online:

  • Keep your account password a secret. Even if you think you know someone who wants to share your account, don’t give them your password. They could hack your account and change the password, meaning you lose everything you’ve worked so hard for.
  • Don’t share personal information with people in your games. Your name, your address, your phone number, and your school’s name should all be kept secret from the people you talk to.
  • Don’t agree to meet anyone you met online. People are not always honest about themselves, and you could put yourself in real danger by agreeing to meet someone in real life.

Direct Messaging

One of the best things about the Internet is that it can help you connect with people you don’t normally see on a regular basis. Messaging with friends from school and family that live far away is so much easier with direct messaging via social media and email.

But the Internet can also connect you to people you don’t know. While it’s really fun to play games with and talk to people from different places around the world, it’s important to be safe while you are online. Not everyone who talks to you online will tell you the truth, so be careful about what you say to people you don’t know. Even if you feel you know them after chatting for a while, people that intend harm can be sneaky in how they get you to give up your personal information.

Here are a few tips you can use to stay safe while messaging online:

  • Never tell anyone personal information about you. Keep things like your name, address, and school a secret from strangers who might talk to you online.
  • Never agree to meet someone you met while messaging online. Sometimes people aren’t who they say they are, and it’s dangerous to meet someone you don’t know.
  • Keep your passwords private. People can use your account passwords to do bad things in your accounts. Even if it’s someone you know offline, keep your passwords safe and secret to prevent hacking.
  • Treat people how you want to be treated. Just because you can’t see the person you’re talking to doesn’t mean that something you say can’t hurt them. Be kind to everyone so that everyone can have fun.

It’s very important to remember the Golden Rule in instant messengers. Because your messages are sent instantly, there’s no way to get them back once they have sent. Be careful with your words, and make sure you think about what you’re saying before you send it. No one likes getting their feelings hurt, even if it’s online.

Social Networks

Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram let you connect with your friends, family, and people from around the world. These sites let you set up a profile page all about you, where you can talk about yourself and your interests and share photos of yourself with the people on your friends list.

Apps like YouTube Live, Live. Me, and the new Snapchat update allow people to see you either in a recorded video or in real time. Unless you change your settings to “Ghost Mode” or “Private,” that means anyone can watch you. Think B4UClick! Be smart and use privacy settings!

Texting

If you own a cell phone, you probably text your friends all the time. Texting is a great way to send short messages without having to be near a computer or connected to the Internet.

 

But just like instant messaging programs, you have to be careful about what you say while texting. Once you send a text, there is no way to ever delete it or get it back from the other person’s phone.

 

Before you send any text, think about what you’re sending. Is it saying something mean about the person you’re texting or someone else? Will it hurt someone’s feelings if they found out? Could it make someone angry? If you said yes to any of those questions, maybe it’s not a text worth sending.

Online dangers are numerous and B4UClick is committed to making children, teenagers, parents, and educators aware of the risks everyone face every time we use a mobile device, sign up for a service online, or browse and chat on the Internet. Find below detailed information on some of the more pressing issues middle school aged children face every day.

 

Online Danger information regarding:

Chat Rooms

Chat rooms are a way for people to easily talk to one another about things they enjoy. There are chat rooms for sports fans, people who enjoy certain types of books, and even people who like the same kinds of music. Many people use chat rooms to meet new people and talk about their favorite activities.

 

Chat rooms can be located on any type of site. They are really popular on online gaming sites, where people can discuss things related to the game or just have fun.

 

Most of the time, a chat room will be made up of a group of people who have joined to talk. But sometimes, chat rooms give you the option to talk privately with another user. If someone privately contacts you while you’re using a chat room, follow these safety tips:

  • Keep personal information private. No one needs to know your real name, your school’s name, or where you live. Keep this information secret from anyone you talk to online.
  • Never send pictures of yourself to someone you’re chatting with. The people you meet online won’t always tell the truth about who they are, and you don’t want a stranger to have a picture of you. Once a photo is posted, you can never get it back.

If anyone ever says mean things to you or pressures you to send pictures of yourself, block them. This will stop them from being able to contact you on the chat room. After you’ve blocked them, report them and talk to your parents or teacher

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is just like real bullying, only it happens over a computer or a phone. Cyberbullies can be anyone, and cyberbullying can happen to anyone. But you don’t have to put up with it. You have the power to stop cyberbullying!

 

Cyberbullying is terrible because it affects someone not just at work or school, but at home, too. You should always feel safe and protected in your home, but cyberbullying takes this away, making people feel unsafe and even threatened.

 

Types of Cyberbullying

 

Cyberbullying can come in many forms. Here are a few you should know:

  • Trolling – when someone says things just to make someone angry or get a certain reaction out of them
  • Harassment – when someone continually tries to make someone angry through messages, posts, or texts
  • Stalking – when someone follows you around on social media sites, gaming sites, or chat rooms and says rude or mean things to you
  • Threats – when someone threatens to hurt you or do something you don’t want
  • Racism – when someone says mean or rude things to you because of the color of your skin
  • Xenophobia – when someone says mean or rude things to you because of where you or your family comes from

How to Stop Cyberbullying

 

It can be hard to prove who is doing the bullying online because some sites let you sign up anonymously or use a fake name and profile. But there are things you can do to make a bully stop harassing or contacting you.

 

First, make sure you save all of the messages sent to you as evidence. It can be hard to keep those messages because they are hurtful, but they are important to prove what happened.

 

Next, make sure to block the bully wherever they contact you. Blocking them from your phone, your friends list, or anywhere else you have contact with them will mean that they can’t ever talk to you on that site again.

 

Finally, tell someone about what happened. If you’re being bullied online or elsewhere, there are people who can help you make it stop. First talk to your parents or your teacher about what’s happening. If you want to talk to an adult without anyone finding out, you can use our talk portals to report bullying.

 

What to Do If Someone is Bullying Your Friend

 

If someone you know is being bullied online, you have the power to make it stop. Stand up to cyberbullying by helping your friend block the bully or bullies from social media sites and their phone. Encourage your friend to talk to their parents or a teacher you trust about the situation. You can also show them our talk portals, where they can safely talk to an adult about what’s happening.

 

If your friend is scared or worried about talking to someone about cyberbullying, you can talk to someone for them. Talk to your parents, your teacher, or even your friend’s teacher about what’s happening. You won’t get in trouble, and you could be saving your friend from a very dangerous situation.

 

Friends don’t let friends get hurt by cyberbullies. Do the right thing and take a stand today!

Mobile Devices

You use your cell phone for everything, right? You talk to your friends, take photos for Instagram, play games, listen to music, and even watch videos on your phone. We bet you even sleep with it right next to you!

 

But having a cell phone is a big responsibility. In addition to not losing or breaking your phone, you have to remember how to stay safe while using it.

 

Giving Out Your Number

 

You should only be giving out your phone number to people you know, like your friends and family. Anyone who has your number will be able to call and text you, so make sure you’re keeping it off of your social media profiles so that people you don’t know can’t contact you.

 

Taking & Sending Photos

 

Your iPhone camera is really awesome, isn’t it? But you should always be careful about the pictures you’re sharing online and with friends. Before you press send or upload that new picture to Instagram, think: could this picture get me into trouble? Once you publish it online or text it to a friend, there’s no way of getting it back, so be very careful!

 

GPS Tracking & Checking In

 

One of the cool things about smart phones like your iPhone or Galaxy is that it can let you do cool things with the GPS tracking in it. You can get search results based on your location and you can even “check in” to sites like Facebook to show your friends all the cool places you’re visiting.

 

But if you have people that you don’t really know or trust on your friends list, this can give them more information about you than you want them to have. Checking in is especially dangerous if someone wants to find out where you are or find out if you’re not home so they can break into your house. Always be careful when using anything GPS related on your phone.

Online Videos

Watching funny cat videos or the latest music video on YouTube is probably one of your favorite ways to have fun online. There are over a billion videos on YouTube right now, which means there are plenty of things to watch!

 

But that doesn’t mean that all videos online are kid-friendly. In fact, several online videos, even ones on YouTube, are violent, sexual, or inappropriate for kids your age.

 

When you join YouTube, you will have to give your age so that you will be protected from videos like this. But sometimes videos will slip through anyway. If you ever see a video online that makes you uncomfortable or scared, you can report it by clicking the flag icon that appears under the video. This will report the video to YouTube’s moderators, who can remove it from the site if necessary.

Sexting

Sexting is when someone sends sexual pictures of themselves or sexual messages through their phone to another person. Usually a person is sending it to their boyfriend or girlfriend, but sometimes people send them to people they don’t know or people they think are interested in them.

 

Sexting is very dangerous because once a picture or message has been sent, it can never be taken back. Also, once a picture or message is sent, the person who received it can post it elsewhere, putting the person who originally sent the message in very bad position. People they don’t even know will be able to see that picture, sometimes without the person even knowing.

 

Think B4uclick! Before you click the send button on that picture you’re planning to send, think: would you want someone you don’t know seeing it? Would your mom or dad approve of what you’re doing? If you answered no to either question, you shouldn’t be sending the picture.

 

Also remember that any photo of a child under the the age of 18 is considered child pornography. These types of photos are illegal, and the person you send the picture to, even if it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend, can get into big trouble or even go to jail.

 

What to Do If You’re Sent a Sext Message

 

Sometimes people send sext messages without permission. If you ever receive a picture of a naked person or a person’s private parts on your phone, do not send it to anyone else or post it online.

 

Remember that if you’re unwillingly receiving inappropriate messages you have done nothing wrong, and won’t get in trouble. Show the picture to your parents or another adult you trust and tell them who sent the image.

 

You can also use our talk portals to talk to someone without getting in trouble. Our site is a safe place for kids just like you to discuss things like this with people who care.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is when someone forces you to do things with your body that you do not like. It can also be when someone touches the private parts of your body, makes you watch adult videos, or pressures you into doing something sexual in real life or online.

 

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, no matter if they are a boy or a girl. The most important thing to remember about sexual abuse is that it’s not your fault. Even if it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend or a member of your family, no one has the right to make you do anything you don’t want to do.

 

Sexual Abuse Online

 

Sexual abuse doesn’t always happen in the real world. Sometimes it can happen online. If someone asks you for pictures of yourself without clothing or asks you to do sexual things on a webcam, it is still sexual abuse. Online abuse is especially dangerous because once a picture or video is put online, it can be very difficult to take it down.

 

If someone ever asks you to do something you don’t want to do, even if it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend, you have the right to say no. If they continue to pressure you, block them from your friends list or on the site where you’re chatting with them. It can be difficult to do this if the person is someone you know and care about, but remember, no one has the right to make you do something you don’t want to do. Just say no.

 

What to Do About Sexual Abuse

 

If you think you are being sexually abused, you are not alone. This website is a safe place where you can talk about what’s happening to you without being judged or getting in trouble. Use our talk portal to talk to a person who cares about you and can help you stop the abuse.

Internet media is extremely popular and there are so many videos, games, and other forms of media to consume. You can often meet new friends and have fun with Internet media. But the amount of different types of online media also means there are plenty of ways to find unsafe ways to participate and communicate.

 

Play Our Internet Safe Games

 

Before you sign up for or watch any online media, first ask your parents if it’s okay. You can show them the site and tell them a bit about why you want to join or play or watch. Have your parents check out the rating system and let you know if the game is safe to participate.

 

Keeping Yourself Safe with Games

 

Remember that like any other site online, not everyone you meet on a gaming website is going to be truthful about who they are. You should always be careful about who you are talking to and what you are telling them. Never give out personal information about yourself, especially your real name, your address, or your school’s name. You should also never share photos of yourself with people you meet online.

 

Gaming Addiction

 

Sometimes people can take online games very seriously. They are very competitive and want to be the best or win the most and are willing to do anything to do that.

 

It’s easy to get carried away with games because they let us see other worlds and be other people. But it’s important to remember that games are not real life. People will not die if you do not win a game or finish a quest.

 

Your health should always come before any online game. Make sure you are taking frequent breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your body. It can be easy to forget to eat and drink water while you’re in the middle of a really good game, but it’s important to do these things too.

 

Always report problems or inappropriate contact to a trusted grown-up or report Internet abuse online at B4UClick.

Being safe and having fun online is all about staying in control of your accounts, how people can find you, and the things you publish online. Remember, before you post, share, or say anything to anyone online, stop and think:

  • Could this get me into trouble?
  • Could this hurt someone’s feelings?
  • Is this revealing personal information about myself?
  • Do I really know the person I’m talking to?

Who Can I Talk To?

If someone is being rude to you online, pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do, or saying things to you that make you worried, scared, or uncomfortable, you can do something about it.

  1. Talk to an adult you trust. If you feel comfortable, you can talk to your parents, a teacher, or another adult you trust about what’s happening.
  2. Talk to someone without getting in trouble. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your parents or another relative, you can talk to a teacher or trusted adult.
  3. Report it. If you are worried about something someone has said or asked you to do online, you can use our talk portal to talk about the situation with someone who can help.

Always remember too that you can report anything you feel makes you upset, scared, or nervous. Talk to your parents or caretaker if someone tries to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do or report Internet abuse at B4UClick.

Tips for Safe Chatting

Staying in control while chatting with your friends means thinking about what you say before you say it. Instant messaging programs, chat rooms, and text messages are designed to be instantly shared with people. Once your message has been sent, you can never delete or remove it, no matter how much you want to. That’s why it’s so important to be careful.

 

If someone you’re chatting with, either online or through texts, ever tries to pressure you into sending them something you’re not comfortable sending, stop talking to them immediately and take these steps:

  • Save any texts or take a screenshot of your chat to save as evidence.
  • Show your parent, teacher, or guardian.
  • If it happened over a chat room or on a social site, report the person.
  • Use the B4U Click Reporting Button to report the person to police.

You have the power to make someone stop making you uncomfortable. All you have to do is say no.

Tips for Safe Emailing

Emailing lets you easily send messages, pictures, and documents to anyone in the world. But this also means that anyone in the world can also send you the same things, even if you don’t want them or don’t know the person.

 

As long as someone has your email address, they can send you emails. Keep your personal email address private on your social media sites so that only the people you know and trust can contact you.

 

Staying in control of your email is easy to do. Just remember that you don’t have to open every email you receive—if you get an email from someone you don’t know or a name that looks funny, don’t open it and delete it immediately. Opening it could trigger a virus download or a violent video.

 

If you keep getting spam messages from the same person, you can also block their email address or report them. This will make your email provider instantly see this person as a spammer and will never show you emails from them again.

Tips for Safe Gaming

If you love online gaming, you probably already know how to keep your account safe from hackers and spammers. But here’s a refresher on how you can keep control of your account:

  1. Never tell anyone your password. If you give your password to someone else, they can hack your account, steal your items, or otherwise mess up all your hard work.
  2. Make your password difficult. Hackers are getting better and better are guessing people’s passwords. The more difficult you make yours, the less easy it will be for hackers to guess.

 

Being in control of your account also means knowing how to stop people from making you feel uncomfortable or saying rude things to you. If someone ever says something that hurts you, you can report them to the site’s moderators and block them so they can’t contact you ever again.

Tips for Safe File Sharing

The best way to be in control of the files you share and download on your computer is to remember that file sharing sites are dangerous and against the law.

  • Never download a file, a video, or music from a site you don’t trust.
  • Never download a file, a video, or music emailed to you from someone you don’t know.
  • If a file begins downloading because of a link you clicked, stop the download immediately.

Do not install anything on your computer without permission from your parents or the person taking care of you.

Tips for Safe Direct Messaging

Staying in control while chatting with your friends means thinking about what you say before you say it. Instant messaging programs, chat rooms, and text messages are designed to be instantly shared with people. Once your message has been sent, you can never delete or remove it, no matter how much you want to. That’s why it’s so important to be careful.

 

If someone you’re chatting with, either online or through texts, ever tries to pressure you into sending them something you’re not comfortable sending, stop talking to them immediately and take these steps:

  • Save any texts or take a screenshot of your chat to save as evidence.
  • Show your parent, teacher, or guardian.
  • If it happened over a chat room or on a social site, report the person.
  • Use the B4UClick Reporting Button to report the person to police.

You have the power to make someone stop making you uncomfortable. All you have to do is say no.

 

You can stay in control of your instant messaging apps like this:

  • Only add people you really know to your friends list. Once you add someone to your friend list, they will be able to chat with you unless you block them or remove them from your list.
  • Block people who say mean or rude things to you. You don’t have to listen to someone being mean to you on social sites. Stop them in their tracks with the block button.
  • Remember that you can’t get messages back after you send them. Just like real words, the things you say to people on instant messengers can hurt. Think before you say!

If anyone ever says something to you that makes you uncomfortable or if someone is trying to get you to do something you just don’t want to do, you can make them stop. Report them, block them, and talk to an adult about what happened.

Tips for Safe Social Networking

Sharing your best selfies on Instagram is fun, but do you know who can see your pictures?

 

If your profile isn’t set to private or just friends, anyone can find and see your pictures, posts, and personal information. All someone would have to do is Google your name to find your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter profile.

 

Most social media sites automatically set your profile to public when you sign up. By setting your profile to private, you’re in control of who can see your information.  Here’s how to change your privacy settings on some of the most popular social sites:

 

Snapchat

 

According to Snapchat, to change your privacy settings;

 

“By default, only ‘Friends’ you’ve added on Snapchat can contact you directly or view your Story. If you’d like to change your privacy settings, here’s how! 👯

  • Tap  in the top right-hand corner of the Profile screen.
  • Scroll down to the ‘Who Can…’ section and tap an option.
  • Choose an option, then tap the back button to save your choice.

Your options include…

  • Who Can Contact Me: Choose who can contact you directly with Snaps, Chats, calls, etc.
  • Who Can View My Story: Choose who can view your Story. Tap ‘Custom’ if you’d like to block specific friends from seeing your Story.
  • Who Can See Me In Quick Add: Choose who can see you in Quick Add, a feature that appears around Snapchat which makes it easier to add friends.”

 

Facebook

 

From the Facebook Help Center:

To view and adjust your privacy settings:

  1. Click settings  in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page
  2. Select Privacy Settings from the dropdown menu
  3. Click on a setting (ex: Who can see your future posts?) to edit it, or use the left column to view your other settings

You can also quickly view and adjust some of the most widely used privacy settings and tools from your privacyPrivacy Shortcuts at the top right of any Facebook page.

To control the privacy for posts, photos and other stuff you share on your Timeline, you can choose your audience when you post.

Blocking People on Facebook:

From the Facebook Help Center:

If someone ever bothers you on Facebook and you want them to stop, you can block them from being able to contact you ever again. The person you block will not be notified that you have blocked them.

To block someone:

  1. Click privacy at the top right of any Facebook page.
  2. Click How do I stop someone from bothering me?
  3. Enter the name or email address of the person you want to block and click Block.
  4. If you entered a name, select the specific person you want to block from the list that appears.

People will not be notified when you block them.

If you can’t find someone using this method, try going to the person’s Timeline and selecting Report/Block This Person from the settings dropdown dropdown.

If you still can’t find the person you want to block, it’s possible that this person no longer uses Facebook or has restricted their privacy settings. Besides blocking, you can control the audience of stuff you share.

 

Twitter:

 

From the Twitter Help Center:

  1. Go to your Security and privacy settings.
  2. Scroll down to the Tweet privacy section and check the box next to Protect my Tweets.
  3. Click the blue Save button at the bottom of the page. You will be prompted to enter your password to confirm the change.

tweet privacy

 

Instagram:

 

From the Instgram Help Center:

By default, anyone can view your profile on Instagram. To make your posts private so only approved followers can see them:

  1. Go to your profile by tapping IG profile settings
  2. Tap Edit Your Profile next to your profile picture
  3. iPhone/iPad: Scroll down to Posts Are Private and toggle the switch to On

Android or Windows Phone: Check the box next to Posts are Private

Once you make your posts private, anyone who wants to see your posts, or followers and following lists, will have to send you a follow request that will appear in your News Feed, which you can then approve or ignore. You can choose to send a photo or video directly to someone even if they’re not following you.

Tips for Safe Texting

You’re probably a texting master, right? You send texts to all of your friends all the time (maybe even during times when you’re not supposed to, like at school). Texting is a great way to stay connected with your friends when you’re not near a computer. It’s also great for sending pictures and videos.

 

But it’s important that remember that once you send a text message, you can’t get it back. Be careful about what you’re sending to other people.

 

Are you sending that message to the right person? It’s easy to make a mistake and send a text to someone you didn’t mean to. Before you send a text or picture, make sure it’s going to the right person, or you could be in a really awkward situation.

 

Could what you’re sending hurt someone? If the answer is yes, think about whether or not what you’re saying is worth it. If you send it to the wrong person or someone shows the person you’re talking about, you could get in big trouble and even lose friends.

 

Would you send that text to your grandma? If your picture or message isn’t appropriate for your grandma, think again about whether or not you should send it. Pictures can be so easily shared on social media sites. Do you really want everyone to see it?

Know Your Internet Rights

Just because you’re not technically an adult doesn’t mean that you don’t have rights. Even as a minor under the age of 18, you are protected by laws and rights that prevent people from taking advantage of you.

 

But this also means that you have responsibilities, too. Just because you’re not an adult doesn’t mean that you can do what you want and not get in trouble. Make sure you’re familiar with the following laws so that you can stay out of trouble and prevent other people from getting hurt.

 

Age of criminal responsibility: Even if you are not adult, you can still be held responsible for a crime you commit. Depending on the crime committed and the court where you are tried, you could be considered an adult and therefore go to an adult correctional facility as punishment. As a minor the age of prosecution begins at 10 years old.

 

Age of consent: Age of consent laws are reserved for the individual states, meaning that each state will have a different law. In general, though, anyone under the age of 16, 17, or 18 is considered a minor and is not able to reasonably consent to sex or sexual acts.

 

Even if you are above the age of consent in your state, remember that you don’t have to have sex if you don’t think you are ready. Sex is a big commitment and should be reserved for loving and trusting relationships.

 

No matter your age, if someone is pressuring you into having sex with them or doing sexual acts, it is called sexual abuse and is a crime. Talk to an adult you trust or call one of the safe agencies on our Who to Contact page about what’s happening.

 

Discrimination laws: If someone ever says mean or rude things to you because of the color of your skin, the way you look, the language you speak, or where you come from, they are breaking laws about anti-discrimination.

 

If someone continually makes fun of you over social media sites, texting, or online chatting, it is called cyberbullying. There are things you can do to stand up to cyberbullies—check out our page on it.

 

Cyberbullying: Anyone who says mean or rude things to you online that make you feel scared, threatened, or uncomfortable is being a cyberbully. Each state has its own laws about how to handle cyberbullying, but you should report any time someone makes you feel uncomfortable online, no matter how small or insignificant you think it is.

 

Sexting laws: Sexting may seem exciting and may make you feel like an adult, but if you’re not aware of the laws, you could get yourself or the person you’re sending pictures into a lot of trouble.

 

Sexting is considered a form of pornography, and there are many laws in place to protect teens from seeing or being used in pornography.

 

If you are under the age of 18 and send a naked selfie or picture of yourself with exposed genitals, the person who receives that photo on their phone or computer is technically breaking the law, even if that person is your boyfriend or girlfriend. However, if you are 18 and send a sext message or sexual photo to someone who is not 18, you are breaking the law, even if you’re just sending it to a friend or your boyfriend/girlfriend.

 

If someone ever pressures you into taking sexual or naked photos of yourself, it’s called sexual abuse. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want, even if the person asking is your boyfriend, girlfriend, or a member of your family. Talk to an adult you trust or use our Who to Contact page to find someone to talk to about how to stand up to and stop the situation.

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