Do-it-yourself House Rules for Online Privacy

Our House Rules for Online Privacy

Our general house rules

  • We will always treat people nicely online.
  • We will think about the footprint we leave online with our comments, pictures and videos, and control what others see about us to leave a good impression. We will ask ourselves:  What would grandma, grandpa or a favourite teacher think if he or she saw this?
  • We will never write rude or hurtful messages. If we are upset or angry with someone, we will talk to them in person.
  • We will work with an adult we trust to learn how to post things online, and only post things that we are okay with anybody seeing.
  • We will tell an adult if someone is being mean to us online.
  • We will tell an adult if we are worried about something we see online.
  • We will remember that things we see on the Internet aren’t always true.
  • If we don’t know someone in person, we won’t communicate with him or her online without asking our parents, or an adult we trust, first.
  • We won’t tell people where we are when we’re online.
  • We will make our passwords hard to guess and we will not share our passwords. It is important to know that some people do go into other people’s accounts and try to cause trouble.
  • We will protect our personal information and the personal information of others because personal information is valuable.
  • We will get into the habit of reading the privacy information about a site, game or app with an adult we trust so that we understand how our personal information will be collected, used and shared. This is usually in something called a “privacy policy” and can be long and hard to understand, but really important.
  • We will ask an adult we trust for help if we make a privacy mistake, like posting something we didn’t mean to.
  • We will set a good example of safe, wise and responsible Internet use for everyone around us. This goes for adults too!

Play Games

  • We will not purchase a game without first asking our parent or an adult we trust.
  • We will always ask our parent or an adult we trust before using the chat function or headset to communicate with other players when gaming online.
  • We will always ask an adult we trust before entering any personal information into a game.
  • We will not blindly trust a game because it features seals, badges or stickers suggesting that it’s safe or secure.
  • When trying out a new game, we will try to provide the least information needed in order to create an account. We know our information is valuable.
  • We will not use our real name as a username or a handle.
  • We will not provide our location in our gaming profile.
  • We will never give money or payment information online without first asking our parents or an adult that we trust.
  • When we are playing online games, we will be careful with our personal information so that other players don’t learn too much information about us.

Social networking

  • We will check and adjust the privacy settings for our social networking accounts.
  • We will think before we click. We know photos, videos, comments or personal information on the Internet are never private and can be tough to take down.
  • We will trust our instincts. We’ll speak out about cyber-bullying, online impersonation and snooping. If it feels wrong, it likely is wrong.
  • We’ll take the time to review who our online “friends” really are and delete people we don’t actually know. A friend of a friend is really just a stranger.
  • We will not accept friend requests from people we don’t actually know.
  • We will think twice before providing the details of our location or activities publicly.
  • We’ll work together to make sure our online experience is a positive one and talk to each other if we run into problems – before they become even bigger problems.

Use a mobile device

  • We will use the automatic lock and password protect features on our device(s). This will help prevent other people from using our device or being able to see the personal information on our device.
  • We will not leave our device(s) in a place where someone could easily steal it.
  • We will ask a parent or trusted adult to help us to check and adjust geolocation settings on our mobile devices.   Geolocation information is information provided through the Internet which can identify the location of a person, computer or mobile device.

Download apps

  • We will not download an app (even if it’s free) without first asking our parent or an adult we trust.  An adult can help us to, for example, understand what information the app needs in order to run (these are the “permissions”).
  • We will get into the habit of reading privacy policies for new apps before we download them so that we understand how our personal information will be collected, used and shared.
  • We know our information is valuable and we will think about what we are providing (and why!) before surrendering details to get an app.
  • When signing on to a new app, we will try to provide only the basic information needed to create an account.
  • We will not use our real name as a username or a handle.
  • We will make our account passwords hard to guess and keep them private.

Share photos and videos

  • We will check with an adult that we trust before we share a photo or a video.
  • We will think before we click. We know photos, videos, comments or personal information on the Internet are never private and can be tough to take down.
  • Before we post photos and videos online, we will ask ourselves whether it’s okay if everybody sees them.
  • Before we post a photo or video with someone else in it, we will ask him or her first. If they say no, we will respect their privacy and not post. We will ask permission before adding a name to a photo or video (“tagging”).
  • When we use a web cam, we will make sure that an adult we trust knows we are using it. Some computers come with tiny web cams, so it is important we learn how to tell when they are on or off.
  • We will never take photos or videos that make us feel bad or uncomfortable.
  • We will not take or share inappropriate pictures or videos that could embarrass or cause harm to us or others.
  • We will think twice before adding information about our location to our photos or videos (“geotagging”). An adult can help us to turn off automatic location tagging.

Communicate by text or email

  • We will be careful about what we include in our texts and emails to protect against sharing things we never want to be made public.
  • We will not open emails and texts if they look suspicious or are sent by someone we don’t know. We will delete these messages to protect against spyware and malware (harmful computer programs that can be automatically installed on our computers or devices without our knowing – they can, for example, stop our computer from working properly or allow others to spy on what we do online).
  • We will not reply to messages from people or organizations we don’t know in real life. If in doubt, we will check with our parent or an adult we trust. Sometimes people pretend to be someone else online to trick us into providing information to cause trouble.
  • We will not click on links or attachments in an email if the message is suspicious. When we are in doubt, we will check with our parent or an adult we trust.

Make online purchases

  • We will always ask our parent or an adult we trust before making purchases online.
  • We will look for the padlock symbol at the top or bottom of our browser, which indicates that our information is protected in transit.
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