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Attention StudentsYour privacy and safety are important. Protect yourself when online by following the guildelines below. Remembering this acronym will help you remember how to stay safe while on the Internet, no matter what your purpose: CAREFUL. CAREFUL stands for Communicate, Ask, Respect, Evaluate, Footprint, Understand, and Listen.

C: Communicate with your teachers or parents about what you are doing online. Ask permission for Internet use when you think it is something out of the ordinary. Even ordinary-seeming tasks online can sometimes be dangerous.

A: Ask questions about online content, individuals, and sources. Don’t always trust what you read or see online, and ask about individuals you may communicate with. Chatrooms are places where predators like to hide because their true identity can be masked by an online appearance. Ask, ask, ask.

R: Respect yourself and others online. When communicating, always use appropriate language and other forms of communication. This will help keep you and others safer.

E: Evaluate your surroundings when online at all times. Make sure to not trust anything you see online without consulting an adult. Don’t fall victim of a scheme out to get your money or your personal information. Look at everything you see online with a skeptical eye.

F: Footprints are easily left behind on the Internet. Do your best to keep your footprints minimal, by logging off computers, logging out of sites that require passwords, protect your passwords and other personal information, and remember to delete your browsing history and cookies.

U: Understand the laws and guidelines associated with using the Internet. Don’t forget to give credit to sources from where you obtain information. It might be easy to download a paper and forget to cite it, but it’s against the law if you don’t. Understand the laws and try to remember not to plaigarize just because something is public information.

L: Listen to your instincts. Also listen to your teachers and parents—they are here to protect you and to look out for your safety.

For more information about how to protect yourself and others online, visit the following sites.