Myjust told me that she found out that two of her teen age step-kids had MySpace accounts. Their mother had let them create these from her computer at her house. These kids, being kids and very naive, posted their whole names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses on their MySpace accounts. My sister was furious.
Didn't these kids understand the dangers of posting their personal information online? No, not at all. They thought only their friends would read their profiles so why not post their personal information. All their friends are doing it too so it must be alright.
My sister said to them, "So a stranger in Russia can put a virus on my computer, but no one can read your profile but your friends, is that right?"
They thought about it for awhile. Then they came to her and said, "I never thought of it that way."
What This Tells Us
Kids don't understand the dangers that can happen on the Internet. You have to tell them, you may have to scare them a little. Kids are naive and trusting, even street smart kids. They think of the Internet as a big toy, a play thing where they can keep in touch with their friends.
In a way they're right but the Internet is only a fun play thing if you understand the rules. Safety should be number one. Especially when you are dealing with kids. You're kids don't know what dangers are out there. Inform them.
If you are a teen yourself go straight to the nearest trusted adult that has information about the safety of the Internet and ask them to tell you, a parent, a teacher. Don't post your personal information online, ever. Even adults should never do this. It's just too dangerous. You don't know who's lurking in that virtual dark alley.