When you use a computer, there are a lot of fun things that you can do. The Internet is a great place to find and play games or chat with your friends. Sometimes, you might even need to use the Internet for school. But the Internet isn't always a fun or safe place. It can also be dangerous or scary, and it can even hurt your feelings and make you sad. That's because people sometimes go online and do bad things. Parents and teachers try to keep kids safe by making rules for using the computer. You can help stay safe by following their rules and knowing what to do or not do when using any type of computer or smartphone.
When you're walking home from school, you don't talk to strangers because it isn't safe. The same thing is true when you're online. There are a lot of people on the Internet, and some of them are bad people. You might meet these people when you are playing video games online, visiting a chat room, or posting on social media. Sometimes, they are adults who pretend to be kids. They may lie about their age, about being in school, or about the things they like. They want you to trust them and think of them as your friend. These people are called predators because they look for kids so that they can hurt and do bad things to them. To do that, they might ask you to meet them in person or send them pictures. You should never do any of these things. You don't have to be scared to use the Internet; just be safe by remembering a few things. Don't use your real name: Call yourself something funny or cool instead. Never give out your home address or phone number. Don't tell people online what school you go to or post anything that says who you really are or where you live. You should also never send or post a picture of yourself online. If someone asks for a picture or information about you, always tell your mom or dad about it. Even if you want to enter a contest for something cool, ask your parents first.
Sometimes, you'll see things that you want to download and install on your computer. It might look like something that's fun, or it might even be something that someone has sent you. But stop before you download it and ask for permission from a parent at home or a teacher when you're at school. Downloading or installing software can really hurt your computer. Bad downloads can install viruses that make your computer sick. Sometimes they can break computers so they don't work. Some can even spy on you or steal things. Criminals can even rob your parents if you install something you shouldn't.
Another way to stay safe on the Internet is to watch out for bullies. The Internet has bullies just like the bullies in school. Because they use the Internet to pick on people, they are called cyberbullies. These are kids and sometimes adults who go online and say things that are mean or not true. They might send a mean text or email just to you, or they may send it to other kids in school. Sometimes, people might even send a lot of people pictures or videos of you that are embarrassing. When this happens, it might make you want to cry, stay home from school, or just feel bad and embarrassed. If someone is bullying you online, tell a parent or another trusted adult. Always show them the message or picture, too. You can help stop cyberbullying by not acting like a bully when you're using the Internet. Don't send mean text messages or share photos of someone that might hurt their feelings. If someone sends you a bad message about another kid, don't share it with anyone else, and make sure to tell an adult.
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