Safety Tips for Users & Safety Tips for Parents
We want you to have fun using Zwinky.com, but please remember to always use common sense and caution when using our service. Here are some basic safety tips you should follow:
- Don't post any information in a chat room or on a Profile Page (including through use of ZNotes) that you would not want the public to see. Anything you post in these areas can be seen by the public.
- Never post personal information in a chat room, Profile Page, or ZNote that would enable a stranger to find you or another user. That means do not post real names, mailing addresses, home addresses, email addresses, telephone or cell phone numbers, passwords, school names or addresses, favorite hangouts, or banking details.
- Pick a user name that does not contain your real name or indicate your age or gender. Don't pick a user name that someone can use to learn your real identity or which has a meaning that would attract negative attention or encourage others to bother you.
- Ignore requests from other users for information such as your age, gender, or location. Don't be pressured into giving others personal information about yourself. If someone is too nosy, it's likely he or she doesn't have your best interests at heart.
- Be cautious when chatting with others online, as it is difficult to know if another person is lying or telling the truth when you're online. Remember that people aren't always who they say they are, and don't believe everything you read online. Always be on the alert for people who might hurt you.
- Don't misrepresent your age. The Zwinky.com site is for individuals who are at least 13 years of age. Don't let others think you are older or younger than you are, as it may expose you to uncomfortable or dangerous situations.
- NEVER EVER arrange to meet someone in person whom you only know through use of the Internet (including chat rooms)!!!! This is not safe no matter how long or well you think you know someone!
- Treat other users with respect. Don't post mean, threatening, degrading, abusive, hateful, vulgar, sexual, profane, or otherwise objectionable messages in a chat room, on your Profile Page, or in a ZNote. Also, don't get involved in chat room arguments or encourage others to do so. This behavior is not only unsafe, but we may ban you from the Zwinky.com site.
- Don't accept harassment from anyone. If someone is bothering you or making you feel uncomfortable, ignore them, leave the chat room (if applicable), talk with a trusted adult, and/or notify us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Avoid or leave chat rooms discussing topics that make you feel uncomfortable. Be cautious entering or remaining in chat rooms that might be associated with sex, drugs, violence, hate, illegal activities, cults, or groups that practice dangerous rituals.
- Don't access files, urls, or downloads from people you don't know or from friends, if you weren't expecting them. This may expose your computer to viruses, spyware, or otherwise compromise computer security. In addition, such files, urls, or downloads may access inappropriate content or violate federal law.
- Let your parents know what you are doing, if you are under 18. We're sure they will appreciate it, and they can help you stay safe and better enjoy your online experience.
If you aren't sure how to react to a particular incident or you are confronted by an uncomfortable situation, take a break, and don't be afraid to talk to a trusted adult. You can also contact us at email@example.com. There are a number of organizations that host websites with tips for safely using the Internet -- for more information check out www.safeteens.com and www.wiredsafety.org.
SAFETY TIPS FOR PARENTS
Zwinky.com is intended for use by those who are at least 13 years of age or older. While the Internet is a great place for children to learn and socialize, it's important that parents supervise their children and help them make safe decisions while they are online. Here are some basic tips for helping your child navigate our site in a safe manner:
- Consider getting parental control protections for your computer, such as computer hardware, software or filtering services. Information identifying current providers of such products is available at the Netparents.org website at: http://www.netparents.org/parentstips/browsers.html. Using such a product by itself is not sufficient though, so please keep reading!
- Know what your child does online and who your child talks to online. Communicate with your child regularly about his or her Internet use and learn everything you can about the Internet and chat rooms.
- Talk to your child about ground rules for using the Internet, treating other users with respect, and behaving in an appropriate manner when online.
- Consider keeping the computer in a family area of your home and not in your child's room so you can keep an eye on your child's Internet use.
- Help your child choose a user name that doesn't reveal his or her real name, age, or gender and is not sexy or suggestive.
- Make sure your child understands that the chat rooms, Profile Pages, and ZNotes are public spaces and all the information posted in those areas can be seen by the public.
- Remind your child that people aren't always who they seem to be. Tell your child to be cautious and not believe everything he or she is told.
- Tell your child NEVER to post any information in a chat room, on a Profile Page, or in a ZNote that would enable a stranger to find him or her, including his or her real name, age, gender, mailing address, home address, email address, telephone or cell phone numbers, passwords, school name, favorite hangouts, or banking details. Let your child know it's okay to ignore requests for information from other users - it's not rude.
- Make sure your child understands that it's NEVER safe to meet face-to-face with someone he or she has met on the Internet (including in a chat room). Encourage your child to tell you or another trusted adult if another user has asked for such a meeting.
- Tell your child to avoid or leave chat rooms with discussions of topics, such as drugs, violence, hate, illegal activities, sex, cults, and dangerous rituals.
- Encourage your child to log off and inform you if he or she encounters an uncomfortable situation. Your child should not respond to harassing, obscene, belligerent, or inappropriate messages or behavior, and should inform you or another trusted adult of the situation. If the problem persists, please report it by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Remind your child not to download or open any files, urls, or downloads that are unexpected or from strangers.
To report a problem or if you have concerns about your child's safety while using our service, please contact us at email@example.com.
There are a number of organizations that host websites with tips for safely using the Internet -- for more information, please go to www.safeteens.com and www.wiredsafety.org