Internet Safety Tips from the True Colors Resource Guide

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The Internet is a great source of support for LGBT teens. For some, it is may be the only support. It is a place where you can find and make friends, find acceptance and be yourselves, get advice, read magazines, talk to friends, form activist groups and more. Unfortunately, not everyone you meet on the "net" has such innocent intentions. And, sometimes, you can become the prefect "prey" – especially if you would be afraid to tell your parents if something happened because it would mean coming out to them. Here are some tips to pay attention to:

People are not always what they say they are. Appearances can be deceiving and people may try to talk you into doing things you might feel badly about later. Trust your instincts. If you catch someone in one lie, chances are there are others. Be careful about how much information you provide about yourself in your profile.

Maintain your privacy. Do not give out or post your name, address, phone number, what school you go to, or any other private information. Keep in mind that all information on the internet is available to everyone. Think before you post!

Computers log every website you visit. Keep this in mind especially on public access computers.

Be careful if you decide to meet. Meet in a public place a few times first, before deciding to go to a more private location. Always tell someone where and with whom you are going! Make sure you use your own or public transportation in case things don‘t go as you planned and you want to make an earlier exit.

You have the right to expect respect. If something happens to you that you think is harassment, assault or rape, then you need to take some actions. Tell someone you trust. Then get help.

Remember your body is yours and yours alone. You have a right to stop things whenever you feel uncomfortable – even if the other person doesn‘t want to. You have the right to say NO!

Trust Your Instincts. If you feel unsafe, you probably are. Act on your feelings and get out.