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									                                                                           Safe Blogging


      i-SAFE America Inc.
      5963 La Place Court Ste. 309 Carlsbad, CA 92008                         Tel: (760) 603-7911            www.isafe.org


                              The Promise and Perils of Blogging
A place to write down your                     teens is natural. Blogging has                   thinks are innocent details, s/he is
thoughts and feelings, your secret             become a social event. A way to                  in reality drawing a roadmap to
desires and hopes for the fu-                  reach out and connect and share                  her house. S/he is lulled into a
ture—one that is open for anyone               ideas of a personal nature in an                 false sense of security by what
to read and comment on. Wel-                   impersonal forum. This private                   s/he sees as the anonymity of the
come to the Blog.                              diary broadcast to millions of                   Internet.
    Blogs, or “weblogs” (“web” +               strangers is a way of getting at-                    This perceived anonymity
“log”) are journals posted on the              tention while hiding behind a                    gives rise to the other dangers of
Internet. These online diaries are             computer. It’s not surprising that               blogging: cyber bullying and slan-
often hosted free of charge by                 blogging has so quickly become                   der. Without the physical immedi-
companies who get money by                     identified as a “teen” pastime.                  acy of an audience, teen bloggers
placing click-through ads on the                   The promise of teen blogging                 are less likely to see and under-
blog pages. What distinguishes                 is that it nurtures important social             stand the damage their words can
the blog from any other web page               skills, fills a need for self-                   do. Schoolyard gossip finds its
is the format. The entries are                 expression, and builds writing                   way into a blog, and the target of
posted in reverse chronological                ability. And most of the time it                 the gossip suffers at the hands of
order, and each entry contains an              does just that. Careless blogging,               unknown online assailants.
area for comments from the read-               on the other hand, can be dan-                       Blogs can be used to the
ers. This enables topics to be dis-            gerous in many ways.                             same effect by cyber bullies. The
cussed among the readers in an                     The online sexual predator                   damage done by cyber bullying
ongoing dialogue.                              can over time can glean enough                   cannot be overstated—just re-
    Blogs can be written by any-               information from a blog to put to-               cently 13-year-old Ryan Halligan
one, about anything: the school                gether a personal profile of the                 committed suicide as a result of
lunch, how to kill a spider, etc.              author. School name, names of                    cyber bullying. Teens, especially
The over four million bloggers                 friends, teachers, physical ad-                  when it comes to blogs, some-
leave no conversational stone                  dresses, street names, town—                     times forget that anything posted
unturned. Typically, a blog con-               anything and everything can be                   on the Internet has an unintended
tains links to other blogs                     used by the sexual predator.                     audience, and therefore, unin-
    The appeal of blogging to                  While the teen posts what s/he                   tended consequences



                                               Blogging: Breaking It Down
   • Blogs: Journals posted on the Internet.

   • Weblogs: Another name for blogs.

   • Blogs are maintained in chronological order by date of post. People who read the blog are usually welcome to post replies, their
     thoughts, etc. This makes most blogs interactive.

   • Blogging makes the writer feel like they are writing confidentially because they are behind a screen. However, the reality is that anyone
     online can read the blog. This can be dangerous.
                                                                                                                   i-SAFE America Inc.
                                          Safe Blogging                                                             5963 La Place Court
                                                                                                                               Ste. 309
                                                                                                                    Carlsbad, CA 92008




                                           Protecting Your Blog

If you’re thinking of creating your own online blog, here are some tips you can follow to ensure your safety.
1. Password-protect your blog. Make sure that nobody knows your password other than your parents.
                                           2. Do not include very personal and detailed information (places you hang
                                           out, malls, etc.) in your blog.
                                           3. Do not complete a profile or include name, address, phone number, school,
                                           zip code, e-mail address, or screen name in your blog. This is exactly the kind
                                           of information a predator is looking for, so don't do it!
                                           4. Do not release any personal information about anyone else you know ei-
                                           ther. Doing so would be just like telling a predator "I'm not interested in speak-
                                           ing with you, but my best friend Chelsea would be more than happy to."
                                           5. Pretend that you are a predator. Read your writing and see if you can pick
                                           out details that lead to revealing personal info about you. If you come across
                                           anything objectionable, change it so it is less identifying to the unknown and
                                           potentially dangerous reader.
                                           6. Do not include photos of yourself or others in your blog.
7. Do not leave your blog page open and your computer unattended. Someone could step in and write something as
you.
8. Do not spread gossip or slander about your classmates.




         A Student’s Tips for Safer Blogging
         It is important to realize the great    someone (usually a minor) who             Predators love to put puzzles
         dangers that come along with blogs.     meets an Internet “friend” in person, together. Each bit of personal infor-
         Unless you want everyone on the         and then is hurt or, killed, by the   mation gives the predator a piece to
         Internet to read about your personal    stranger.                             your life’s puzzle. Keep in mind
         life, you want to keep your online                                            that a little information leads to
         blog confidential. Keep in mind that    “The predator has                     bigger answers for the predator.
         the Internet is very populated, and     gained information Given enough pieces, they would be
         there are always going to be those                                            able to see your entire life story —
         people, predators, who want to          about his prey, and all from the information you have
         sneak into your personal life to gain   often his source of unknowinglyfollowing tips in mind  donated to them.
         information about you and cause                                                   Keep the
         trouble.                                information is—you as you go about creating your blog.
              Predators are on the Internet 24
         hours a day, picking a target and
                                                                                               simple measures
                                                 guessed it—online Theselikely will, make acan, and
                                                                                       most                        difference.
         trying to formulate a plan to capture   blogs.”                               Have fun, and more importantly—
         their prey. You may wonder what I                                             Stay safe on the Internet!
                                                 If you aren’t careful, you could find
         mean by "capture." I'm sure you                                                                      By Christopher
                                                 yourself in a very uncomfortable
         have heard the news stories of                                                                A Student from Florida
                                                 and possibly dangerous situation.

								
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