Teens 15-18

Welcome to B4UClick

Hi Teens,

Have you ever done something you later regretted?

The Internet makes it easy for people to share things and stay connected, but it also makes it easier to make mistakes and get into dangerous situations.

Do you know what to do when something goes wrong online? If you’re aware of how to protect yourself from online dangers, you can stay in control of any situation.

This site is designed to help you learn more about being safe online and how you can stand up against web abuse. If you or someone you know is worried about a person they’ve met online, something they’ve seen browsing the web, or a mistake they’ve made, our website is a safe place to discuss these things. Check our page on who to contact for more information.

Computers have revolutionized the way we communicate, the way we entertain ourselves, and the way we live our lives. People connect through technology and online services and innovation in new ways each day.

It is more than imperative that safety is considered above all else when using any Internet technology whether you are watching videos, communicating on social media, or using the latest Internet enabled device or game.

B4UClick aims to educate people on everything you need to know about being safe while using your computer. Most importantly, it will teach you what you need to do if anyone ever treats you in a way that makes you uncomfortable or afraid or insecure.

It can be tempting to decide that you don’t want to wait for the newest hot movie to come out before you see it. P2P (peer-to-peer) sites let you download illegal copies of movies, TV shows, and music files, often before they’re available to the public. But note that these sites are illegal and you can get into serious trouble with the police and even the government if you’re caught with illegal downloads on your computer.

Not to mention that downloading anything—a movie file, a picture, or even a game—can ruin your computer. Many P2P file sharing sites are filled with files that contain viruses and malware. Downloading an infected file could allow a hacker to hijack your computer, gain access to your important accounts, or even shut down your computer completely. Think B4UClick Before you click on that download link, think: is watching that movie really worth going to jail or losing your computer?

One of the best developments from the adoption of the Internet is online gaming. Games like World of Warcraft and RuneScape paved the way for the types of online games we see today, which attract thousands and thousands of players from around the world to one place online.   Just like any other part of the Internet, you have to be careful about what you say and who you speak to in an online game world.
  • Never give out your account password. Even if you think you trust the person you’re giving this information to, they could double-cross you and take advantage of your hard work by hijacking your account and stealing your items.
  • Never give out personal information about yourself. It’s easy to make lasting friendships with the people you interact with most online. But remember that anyone you meet could be dishonest about the information they give you, and you don’t want to give out personal details like your name, address, and phone number to a stranger.
  • Treat people how you want to be treated. In-game chatting applications let you speak to lots of other players. And just because you can’t see them in person doesn’t mean that the person you’re trolling can’t be hurt by the things you say. Remember that there is always a person behind that avatar or character, and treat them with respect and kindness.

Mobile and Console Games

  We bet you didn’t know that the games you have on your phone or tablet and the games you play through Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus are considered online games. Because you have to be connected to the Internet to use them, they’re considered web-based, even if you don’t have to use a computer to access them.  

Gaming Addiction

  MMORPGs are popular because they allow players to escape their real lives and become a different character, often in a fantasy world. People are attracted to these types of games because they often feel a sense of power or achievement they can’t get in the real world.   Sometimes people enjoy playing online games so much that they forget about their responsibilities in the real world. This is called gaming addiction, and it happens to more people than you think. In mild cases, teens forget to do their homework and their grades drop, but in severe cases, teens have died from over exhaustion, lack of sleep, and starvation.   As fun as games are, it’s important to remember to take frequent breaks. Take time to rest your eyes and your muscles for a few minutes every hour or so. If you’re stuck in a particularly difficult boss battle or quest, this time that you take away from the game can help you re-center and re-focus.   It’s also important to remember that games are just that—games. It’s sometimes hard to remember because we get so invested in the worlds and stories inside online games, but what happens in the game does not reflect what happens in real life. In other words, if you lose a battle, nothing bad will happen. Your life will not be over, the world will not end, and you can always start over fresh the next day.  

Reporting Abuse

  Most games will have their own processes for reporting abuse within the game. Make sure to read or be aware of the site’s Terms of Service, also known as the rules of play.   If someone ever harasses you, including stalking you in the game, discriminating against you, or simply trolling you for a reaction, you have the right to report that player for abuse. No matter how small or insignificant you think it might be, it’s important to report anything that makes you feel threatened or uncomfortable.
Instant messaging services are a great way to stay in touch with people. They can also help you meet new people you wouldn’t normally have the chance to meet in real life.   Many sites have direct messaging built in. Facebook lets you chat with anyone on your friends list, and many online games give you the opportunity to talk to other players while working out a strategy or just hanging out. You’re probably familiar with DMs (Direct Messages) via Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter too.   But remember that instant messaging programs are just that—instant. Once you send a message, you won’t be able to delete or edit it, so be careful about the things you’re saying. Just because you can’t see someone doesn’t mean they can’t get hurt or offended by what you say.
If you have a smartphone, you know just how awesome it is. You probably use it for everything—texting, taking pictures, talking to your friends, gaming, and going online. Because it fits so easily in your pocket or purse, cell phones are the perfect way to stay connected in today’s world.   Here are just a few of the things we bet you didn’t know your phone could do:
  • stream your favorite TV shows and movies in real-time
  • track your friends or family with GPS
  • check in to your favorite restaurants, hangouts, and shops
  • automatically upload videos and pictures to your favorite social networks
Just like your computer, you have to be safe when using your phone to access the Internet.
There are a ton of social networking sites available to teens: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest… and so many more. These sites are great for keeping in touch with friends you don’t always get to see, or for staying up-to-date on the latest celebrity, music, or fashion news.   Most sites will let you connect with anyone, even if you don’t know them. This is perfect if you like to follow and interact with celebrities or companies. But just know that if you connect with someone, even if it’s someone you don’t know, they’ll be able to see your personal profile information.   When setting up your profile, make sure to keep sensitive information, like your phone number or your home address, set to private. If you don’t, anyone will be able to find and use this information. For more information on privacy settings, check out our Social Media Safety page.  

Types Social Media

  Follower Platforms Most of the social media that we’ve referenced so far is a basic Follower Platform style of social networking. Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are Follower Platforms, based on sharing information with “Friends” or “Followers.” But there are other types of Social Media you should be aware of.   Live Sharing Apps like Live.Me, Snapchat, or YouTube Live are live sharing platforms, they allow the world (depending on your privacy settings) to see what you’re doing or where you’re at in real-time. That being said, it is extremely important when using these platforms to have strict privacy settings in order to protect yourself online.   Romantic Apps Apps like Tindr or Bumblr are used to make romantic connections between users. There is nothing more dangerous on the internet than putting yourself in a database as a minor that is interested in “finding someone.” You know by now, people are not always who they say they are online. And most people do NOT have your best interest at heart. (Remember our Videos on Online Grooming and Manipulation?) Don’t trust people you don’t know and can’t see, and DO NOT agree to meet with someone offline alone EVER.

The web gives you the freedom to be whomever and do whatever you want. Lots of teens your age use the Internet as an escape—from school, from homes, from responsibilities—but that doesn’t mean it’s always a safe place.

While activities like social media sites, online games, and video chats can seem like harmless fun, they can also get out of hand very quickly. It’s important to be aware of the dangers of these sites so that, if something ever does happen while you’re online, you have the knowledge to stand up and take action.

Chat rooms are great for meeting new people who share common interests with you. But the danger in using chat rooms is that you never truly know who you are talking to, and everything you say is instantly shared.   Many people use chat rooms to make new friends or talk to new people they might have never known otherwise. But some people use chat rooms to enhance their lives and make them seem like a totally different person. Some people you will meet online will not be absolutely honest in what they tell you about themselves—they can lie about their age, their interests, and even their gender.   That’s why it’s important to never share personal details about yourself with anyone you’re chatting with online. You never know how that information might be used and who is really using it.
Child trafficking is one of those things you might have heard about at school or on the news, but it’s not often talked about. Child trafficking means when a child or a teen is “moved” for the purposes of exploitation. This can be in a number of ways:
  • Being bought or sold to people for money or items
  • Being tricked into leaving their parents and home
Generally, child trafficking happens when a person is forced to leave their home and work for another person, like in prostitution, gang work, or drug running. Often, the child or teen is told that they can have a better life if they leave with their trafficker, who then tricks them into a life of abuse and doing things they don’t want to do.   Child trafficking can sometimes be referred to as child slavery or human trafficking.  

How Common is Child Trafficking?

  Even though you might not hear about it, child trafficking is common in the United States. It affects people of all ages, races, and genders.   In 2010, the FBI investigated over 2,500 human trafficking cases, and almost half of those cases involved child trafficking for the purposes of prostitution.   Trafficking is a real and scary situation. But by knowing how to protect yourself and others, you can stay safe.  

Signs of Child Trafficking

  Child trafficking is often difficult to spot because it happens in the privacy of a home. But there are often signs that someone is being exploited or being forced to do things they don’t want to do.   If you know someone who fits any of the signs below, they might be a victim of child trafficking. Check out our Who to Contact page for information on where you can find someone to help.
  • Someone who is often tired or worn out
  • Someone who doesn’t live with and does not have contact with their family
  • Someone who has different adults around them a lot
  • Someone who has unexplained injuries, like bruises or cuts
  • Someone who misses school a lot
  • Someone who gets nervous or afraid around adults or teachers
  • Someone who doesn’t speak a lot or seems withdrawn
  • Someone who has talked about how they don’t like being at home
  • Someone who cannot speak English very well, even though they moved here a while ago

How to Stop Child Trafficking

  Just because you’re a teen doesn’t mean you can’t stand up and make a difference. There are lots of things you can do to stop child trafficking in your community and throughout the United States.   If you think you know someone who is a victim of child trafficking, tell someone about it. This can be a teacher, your parents, or someone at [agency name]. It’s important to act quickly if you think someone is being abused or exploited.   For more information on human trafficking, watch THIS video.
Have you ever seen someone being made fun of online? Maybe you saw a Facebook status about how much of a loser that one kid is, or calling one of your classmates all kinds of terrible names. Or maybe you got a picture texted to you.   What we just described is called cyberbullying. It’s when a person or a group of people harasses, insults, or threatens another person using technology. Cyberbullying can happen over texting, social media sites, and even email.   When you leave school, you want to feel safe and comfortable in your home because you think of it as a safe place. What cyberbullying does is take away that safe feeling, making people feel vulnerable or even threatened even when they’re at home with their family.   But remember, just like everything else, you are not alone if you are being bullied online. There are places you can go and people you can talk to when you need help.  

What to Do If You’re Being Bullied Online

  If you think you are being bullied online, there are ways you can take a stand and make it stop.   Start by talking to your parents, teacher, or an adult you trust about what’s happening. Show them any texts, emails, or social media posts that insult or make fun of you.   The most important thing to remember is not to react to any bullying online. This can be really hard because what’s being said is often mean or hurtful, but getting angry or hurt is often what a bully wants when they insult you. Block the person from your phone or the website, chat room, or app where they are talking to you and, if possible, don’t forget to report them for abuse.  

What to Do If a Friend is Being Bullied Online

  If you notice that a friend is being bullied or harassed through social media, texts, or emails, it’s important to take a stand. Talk to your friend about what you know about cyberbullying and let them know they don’t have to face the situation alone, that you are there for them. Show them our website and the places and people they can turn to for help.   If your friend isn’t comfortable or is scared to talk to someone about what’s happening, you can do something for them. Talk to their parents, their teacher, or someone from [agency name] about what’s happening. An adult will have the power to step in and take action to make the bullying stop.   If you see cyberbullying happening on sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can let the person who posted the message know that what they’re doing isn’t right. However, remember that insulting the person posting insulting messages means you’re just sinking to their level. You can rise above cyberbullying by taking the necessary steps to make it stop.
We bet your cell phone is like an extension of your arm. You’re never more than two feet from it at any given time, and you NEVER turn it off because you might miss something important. You just can’t live without your phone.   But do you know if you’re being safe with how you use it? Here are some ways you can avoid risky situations:  

Giving Out Your Number

  We know you want to talk to that cute boy or girl you have a crush on, but be careful about who you’re giving your number to. If you give your number out online or to people you don’t really know, they can then contact you when you might not want them to.  

Taking and Sending Pictures

  Your phone has an awesome camera that lets you easily share your best selfies and fun pictures with your friends on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even your blog. But are you sure you want to share that picture with the world?   If you wouldn’t show that picture with your parents or grandparents, it’s probably best to just delete it. After you upload a picture online or send it to your friends through a text, it’s no longer in your control. You never know who might see it or get a copy.  

Uploading Pictures and Video

  Some apps for your phone allow you to automatically sync the photos and videos you take on your phone to certain social networks. This can be especially dangerous because you might not always be aware that a photo or video is being uploaded and shared online.   Our best advice is to never allow an app to automatically sync your data, no matter what data it is, to any website online. You never know when you might accidentally share something personal or inappropriate.  

GPS Tracking

  Some phones have built in GPS tracking to show you where your friends are at any given time. This can help parents track where their kids are and help you meet up with your friends, but it can also help other people find and track you. Make sure you don’t use GPS tracking apps or set your privacy settings so that people you don’t know can’t find you.   According to Apple, if you have an iPhone “You can turn Location Services on or off at Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You can turn Location Services on either during the Setup Assistant process or later through the Location Services setting. You can individually control which apps and system services have access to Location Services data. When Location Services are off, apps can’t use your location in the foreground or background. This will limit the performance of various Apple and third-party apps.”  

Unwanted Texts or Phone Calls

  If someone is harassing you on your phone—sending you text messages or calling you all the time— there are things you can do to make them stop.   First, try to block their phone number from your phone. This will mean that you can’t receive texts or calls from this person. Check your phone provider’s website for information on how to block a phone number.   If the person contacting you is being mean, rude, or threatening, it’s called cyberbullying and is serious. You should talk to someone you trust—like your parents, a teacher, or someone in your family—about what’s happening. You can also call the Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center  to talk to someone specially trained to help teens like you.
Video sites like YouTube, Vine, and Instagram are great for showing off your funny videos to your friends and the world. But you have to be super careful about where you upload the videos and what the videos contain because, if you’re not careful, they could get you into a lot of trouble.  

Copyright Material

  There are strict laws in place that protect companies from having their work or their ideas stolen. This even applies to videos uploaded online.   If you use a site like YouTube, you know that you can’t find full movies or episodes of your favorite shows there. That’s because shows and movies are copyrighted by their creators, meaning only certain people can copy or distribute them online or elsewhere.   Videos that contain copyrighted material can and will be removed from sites like YouTube because they technically break the law. If you are the person who uploaded the copyrighted video, you can get banned from the site, fined a lot of money, or even sued. It’s just not worth it.  

Sexual Material

  If you are under the age of 18, it is against the law to appear in any video that shows you depicted in a sexual manner. Anything that shows you performing a sexual act, revealing your genitals, or otherwise acting in a sexual way is considered child pornography and is illegal.   If you have been forced or pressured into having sex or doing sexual acts on camera, it is considered sexual abuse. If the video ends up online, you can report it to the video hosting service to get it taken down. You should also talk to your parents, a teacher, or someone you trust about what’s happened.
You’ve probably heard the word sexting before—it means when someone sends a naked selfie, a sexual picture, or a text with sexual wording in it to someone else. It might seem like an exciting thing to do with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but the danger in sending something like this is that once it leaves your phone, it’s gone forever.   Even if you absolutely trust the person you’re sending a picture to, it still leaves you in a very vulnerable place. The person who receives the picture or message can save it and then use it however they want.   What if your boyfriend or girlfriend shared that picture with one of their friends? Or what if they accidentally upload it to their Facebook photos? The picture you originally intended to be for one special person is now out there for the entire world to see.   Before you click send on that sexy picture, think: would you want other people, like your parents or your friends at school, to see you like that? If the answer is no, don’t send the picture. It’s just not worth it.  

What to Do If You Get a Sext Message

  Sometimes people think it’s funny or fun to send pictures of themselves to people they don’t really know. Some people even send sexts because they want the person getting the messages to like them. No matter why someone sends you a sexual picture or text message, if you’re not comfortable with it, you can make it stop.   Here are some things to remember:
  1. If you get an inappropriate picture of another person, do not share it with other people. This means don’t forward the message to your friends, don’t upload it to your favorite social site, and don’t show it to other people.Show the picture to your parents or another adult you trust and tell them who sent the image.
  2. If you get a sext message from someone you don’t know, block their number from your phone. This will mean they can no longer contact you through text messages. If you’re not sure how to do this, check your phone provider’s website for help.
  3. If you ever want to talk about inappropriate pictures you’ve received on your phone or on social media, you can always talk to someone at [agency name]. They are trained to help teens stand up to sexual abuse and get out of dangerous situations.
Sexual abuse is when someone forces you to do something of a sexual nature that you are not comfortable with. This can include:
  • Being forced to have sex with or perform a sexual act on another person
  • Someone touching your body without your permission
  • Being forced to touch yourself or another person in a sexual way
  • Being forced to watch adult videos
  • Being forced to say or do something of a sexual nature online or through texting
The most important thing you need to remember about sexual abuse is that NO ONE has the right to do these things to you without your permission and full consent. Anyone who is 18 or older should never have any sexual contact with somebody under that age of 18.   If sexual abuse is happening to you, it is NOT your fault and you are NOT alone.   If you or someone you know is being sexually abused in real life or online, you can make it stop. Check out our Who to Contact page for information on contacting people and agencies who care about you and can help.  

Who can be sexually abused?

  Anyone can be sexually abused at any time in their life. Boys, girls, men, and women are all equally vulnerable to sexual abuse, no matter if it happens online or in the real world.  

Who are sexual abusers?

  Anyone can be a sexual abuser. No matter if the person abusing you is your boyfriend, girlfriend, or a member of your family, they do not have the right to pressure you into something you don’t want or are not comfortable doing.  

What does the law say about sexual abuse?

  There are laws in place that protect people from sexual abuse and hold abusers accountable for their actions. Child sexual abuse is illegal in all 50 states and is also considered a federal offense. Each state carries its own punishment for any type of sexual abuse of a child.   Inability to consent: The law states that minors, or anyone under the age of 16-18 (depending on the state), cannot legally give consent to have sex of any kind. This means that if your boyfriend or girlfriend is over the age of consent (16-18) and you two have sex, your boyfriend or girlfriend is breaking the law, even if they didn’t force you to do anything.  

Will my boyfriend/girlfriend break up with me if I don’t have sex with them?

  No one should be pressuring you to have sex, including your boyfriend or girlfriend. If you are under the age of 16-18, having sex is against the law, and doing so, even if you want to, can get you and your boyfriend/girlfriend into a lot of trouble, especially if your boyfriend or girlfriend is older than you.   Even if you are over the age of consent in your state, you don’t have to have sex. If someone is pressuring or forcing you to have sex or perform sexual acts that you don’t want to do, it is called sexual abuse. If you are ever forced to do something sexual you do not want to do or do not think you are ready for, talk to an adult you trust about it. They can help you overcome what happened and make the abuse stop.   Sex should be a part of a loving and trusting committed relationship. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is putting pressure on you to do things you’re not ready for, they are not respecting you or your feelings.  

How can I make sexual abuse stop?

  You have the power to make sexual abuse stop. It can be hard to take a stand against your abuser, but remember, this is not your fault and you are not alone. There are people here that can help you; all you have to do is talk to them.   One of the most important things you can do is to document all of the abuse, especially if it takes place online. This can be very tough because you don’t want to relive what’s happened to you, but it’s important as evidence against your abuser. If they leave you messages online, send you texts or pictures, or leave you voicemails on your phone, make sure to save them. When you do talk to someone about what’s been happening to you, use them as evidence.
Social networking sites like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are great places to hang out, chat with, and otherwise stay connected with your friends. But you should always be careful about what you’re sharing on these sites—you never know who might be able to see it.  

Profile Information

  Filling out your profile with information about you is one of the first steps you’ll do when you sign up for a social media site. But you need to be careful about what information you choose to add and who can see that information.   Many social sites will ask you for things like your phone number, email address, and even your home address. While these can help your friends find you, they can also help random people you don’t know find you.   If you include these things on your profile, make sure you have your privacy settings set to protect that information from search engines like Google and Bing so that random people searching for information can’t find your profile. You only want people you know and trust to have this information about you.  

Sharing Pictures and Videos

  Just like anything on your profile, your profile picture can be seen by anyone who comes across your profile, unless you have your privacy settings set in a certain way.   The most important thing to remember about when you share pictures or videos, even if they’re just to your friends, is that once they’re published online, you can’t ever really get rid of them. Sure, you can delete the post, but if someone saved the image before you deleted it, you no longer have control of how it can be used.   Trust us, you don’t want to get famous in that way. If you wouldn’t show the picture or video you’re uploading to your parents or grandparents, you don’t want it online.  

Chatting Online and Friends Lists

  It might make you feel awesome to have a huge friends list, but make sure you’re only adding people you actually know and trust to your lists. Many people aren’t truthful about who they say they are online, and if you give them access to your profile information, you could be putting yourself into a dangerous situation.   The same goes for chatting. Sites like Twitter and Instagram make it possible for you to talk to people no matter if you know them or not. In fact, you don’t even have to follow them or add them to be able to chat. While this can be a great way to meet new people, it can also be a great way to meet the wrong people.   Never give out personal information about yourself to someone you’re chatting with online. Even if you’ve been talking for a long time and think you know them really well, they could still be lying about who they really are. The people you meet online are technically strangers, and you don’t want strangers to know where you live or how to contact you offline.  

Privacy Settings

  When you sign up for a social site, your profile settings will automatically be set to public, meaning anyone will be able to see the information you put there. It’s always a good idea to change these settings so that you can stay in control of who has access to your personal information, pictures, posts, and videos.   Not sure how to change your privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Check our guide or use the Help Centers built in to every social media site.  

Checking In

  Facebook has a feature that lets you “check in” to movie theaters, restaurants, shops, and pretty much any place you want. And while this can be a great way to show off how awesome your life is, it’s also a way for people to track you down when you don’t want them to.   Checking in shows where you are on a map, giving people an easy way to find you when you’re out. It also alerts people to when you’re not at home, making it possible for people to break in to your house when you’re not around. [Fun fact: This is how the “Bling Ring” broke into celebrities’ homes and stole millions of dollars of merchandise.]   Even if a social media site doesn’t have a check in feature, you can still alert people to where you are and what you’re doing with the messages you send. Make sure you’re not making statuses or sending Tweets about where you’re going.  

Consequences of Social Media Use

  As older teens headed toward the work force or college, you need to be aware of the consequences of your use of social media. Even if you profiles are set to private, make sure to keep an eye on what you are presenting to the public on your page. Future employers, college admissions, coaches, and even heads of social organizations will look at your social media. Many employers will look at your Facebook and Twitter before they finish reading your resume. Make sure that you are putting your best foot forward online. Don’t post inappropriate pictures of yourself or others (these can be pictures of a sexual nature, pictures of drug or alcohol use, etc) and don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your future boss to read. ThinkB4UClick!   Also, if your pages are public, you should also be aware that authorities like your local police department may monitor your page if they are tipped off that you may be engaging in illegal behavior. You never know who could be looking at your profile!

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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:  


  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.”


  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.  


  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  


  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.
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?

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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