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Category: Articles Written for Kids

Is Your Social Media Profile the Real You?

social media facebook itentity

Think back to when you made your social media profile. You typed in your age, some basic information about yourself, the music you liked and the movies you enjoyed. This became part of the You that the world could see on line anytime. And, chances are, that ‘You’ isn’t totally real.

Recent studies have found that most Facebook users misrepresent at least some part of their profile. One common bit of information likely to be untrue is the user’s age. Young users tend to make themselves out to be older than they really are. Facebook has a policy that users under the age of 13 cannot be members. An estimated 80% of kids under the age of 13 have a Facebook account,* which means that all those kids have false information in their profile.

In many instances, these profiles are done with parents’ permission and monitoring, allowing children to keep in touch with distant relatives and close, trusted friends. As these children get older, few change their ages back, preferring instead to be considered “older” and “more mature.” That means that you could be chatting with someone you think is, say, 18, when that boy or girl could be only fifteen, if not younger.

Some people give themselves a younger age. This can be vanity–or a way to make a younger person feel more comfortable talking to them online. By appearing younger in a Facebook profile, little children are more likely to share plans and activities, helping make them an easy target for predators.

Another way people are likely to misrepresent themselves on social media is by downplaying negative parts of their lives and exaggerating the good stuff. This is easy to understand. Many people are embarrassed to tell others when life doesn’t go their way. All of us want others to think the best of us and look at us in a good light. Suppose that you raved on Facebook about how well a team try-out or a date went, when in reality you feel disappointed. Your friends might congratulate you, which could make you feel even worse when you don’t make the team.

In reality, your life is your business. Being completely honest about every little feeling you have can be wearing on both you and your friends. Imagine posting every thought, every move, every activity and every little thing you do, from washing your face to putting on your shoes. You decide what is important enough to post.

Many people make a habit out of keeping their social media simple and basic. They post birthday messages and social activities that are already common knowledge. Personal information is shared only with personal, real friends. After all, what you do in your real life is the real you.

* READ our recent article on NIMBLE NUMBERS. After reading that, you might find yourself asking about how truthful the 80% number is. The question you should be asking is, “Where did that number come from?” In this case, the 80% figure came from a Consumer Report survey published on pcworld.com, both sources known for being fair and accurate.

Think back to when you made your social media profile. You typed in your age, some basic information about yourself, the music you liked and the movies you enjoyed. This became part of the You that the world could see on line anytime. And, chances are, that ‘You’ isn’t totally real.

Recent studies have found that most Facebook users misrepresent at least some part of their profile. One common bit of information likely to be untrue is the user’s age. Young users tend to make themselves out to be older than they really are. Facebook has a policy that users under the age of 13 cannot be members. An estimated 80% of kids under the age of 13 have a Facebook account,* which means that all those kids have false information in their profile.

In many instances, these profiles are done with parents’ permission and monitoring, allowing children to keep in touch with distant relatives and close, trusted friends. As these children get older, few change their ages back, preferring instead to be considered “older” and “more mature.” That means that you could be chatting with someone you think is, say, 18, when that boy or girl could be only fifteen, if not younger.

Some people give themselves a younger age. This can be vanity–or a way to make a younger person feel more comfortable talking to them online. By appearing younger in a Facebook profile, little children are more likely to share plans and activities, helping make them an easy target for predators.

Another way people are likely to misrepresent themselves on social media is by downplaying negative parts of their lives and exaggerating the good stuff. This is easy to understand. Many people are embarrassed to tell others when life doesn’t go their way. All of us want others to think the best of us and look at us in a good light. Suppose that you raved on Facebook about how well a team try-out or a date went, when in reality you feel disappointed. Your friends might congratulate you, which could make you feel even worse when you don’t make the team.

In reality, your life is your business. Being completely honest about every little feeling you have can be wearing on both you and your friends. Imagine posting every thought, every move, every activity and every little thing you do, from washing your face to putting on your shoes. You decide what is important enough to post.

Many people make a habit out of keeping their social media simple and basic. They post birthday messages and social activities that are already common knowledge. Personal information is shared only with personal, real friends. After all, what you do in your real life is the real you.

* READ our recent article on NIMBLE NUMBERS. After reading that, you might find yourself asking about how truthful the 80% number is. The question you should be asking is, “Where did that number come from?” In this case, the 80% figure came from a Consumer Report survey published on pcworld.com, both sources known for being fair and accurate.

How to Use the Internet Safely

Tips for Safe Internet Use

We spend a lot of time online these days. It’s how we communicate, shop, find directions, and more. But the internet is a complicated place, and it’s possible to run into trouble online if you aren’t careful. Since knowing is half the battle, we’ve got some basic security tips to help keep you safe while you’re online.

1. Use the right type of internet connection

Not all internet connections are the same, and the type of connection you’re on can have a big impact on your safety and security. There are several different types of internet connections that you might run into:

  • Private Wi-Fi. This network or hotspot requires a password to access it.
  • Public Wi-Fi. This network either has no password or the password is posted for anyone to find.
  • Mobile internet. This is the LTE or 5G connection your phone uses. Mobile internet doesn’t require a password, but it’s more secure than public Wi-Fi because your data is generally encrypted for safety.
  • Satellite internet. Satellite internet uses satellites to send signals, instead of underground cables or towers. This network is most common in rural areas.

Since anyone can connect to a public network, it’s possible for people to see what you’re doing online, access your devices, or steal your personal information. If you’re using a public network, never enter any passwords or other private information.

2. Always know who you’re talking to

Avoid sharing personal information with strangers. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media. It’s also a good idea to go through your friends and followers every once in a while, and remove anyone you don’t recognize or trust.

Why? The people you’re friends with can see any personal information you share, like addresses. You don’t want strangers knowing where you’re at. In fact, it’s a good idea to not post your address or location at all. If you need to share it, do so in a private message or text.

3. Don’t open anything from a stranger

Knowing what you can trust online is important. One of the oldest internet safety rules is to never open anything from someone you don’t know. This situation is one of the most common ways to get infected with a computer virus. This tip goes for email attachments, links in text messages, and AirDrops from strangers. To go a step further, set your AirDrop settings to Contacts Only so random strangers can’t send you things you don’t want.

4. Talk to an adult about anything strange you see on the internet

If you come across anything that makes you uncomfortable or suspicious, don’t be afraid to quickly leave the web page and share about it with an adult you trust. You should be open and honest about what you see on the internet, and asking someone about it won’t get you in trouble.

The internet is such a part of our lives that it can be easy to forget that we need to be careful. These basics will go a long way toward keeping you safe so you can relax and get the most out of your time online.

Safe Search Kids Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.


Want to learn more about internet safety? Dig a little deeper into How to Know What to Trust Online.

We spend a lot of time online these days. It’s how we communicate, shop, find directions, and more. But the internet is a complicated place, and it’s possible to run into trouble online if you aren’t careful. Since knowing is half the battle, we’ve got some basic security tips to help keep you safe while you’re online.

1. Use the right type of internet connection

Not all internet connections are the same, and the type of connection you’re on can have a big impact on your safety and security. There are several different types of internet connections that you might run into:

  • Private Wi-Fi. This network or hotspot requires a password to access it.
  • Public Wi-Fi. This network either has no password or the password is posted for anyone to find.
  • Mobile internet. This is the LTE or 5G connection your phone uses. Mobile internet doesn’t require a password, but it’s more secure than public Wi-Fi because your data is generally encrypted for safety.
  • Satellite internet. Satellite internet uses satellites to send signals, instead of underground cables or towers. This network is most common in rural areas.

Since anyone can connect to a public network, it’s possible for people to see what you’re doing online, access your devices, or steal your personal information. If you’re using a public network, never enter any passwords or other private information.

2. Always know who you’re talking to

Avoid sharing personal information with strangers. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media. It’s also a good idea to go through your friends and followers every once in a while, and remove anyone you don’t recognize or trust.

Why? The people you’re friends with can see any personal information you share, like addresses. You don’t want strangers knowing where you’re at. In fact, it’s a good idea to not post your address or location at all. If you need to share it, do so in a private message or text.

3. Don’t open anything from a stranger

Knowing what you can trust online is important. One of the oldest internet safety rules is to never open anything from someone you don’t know. This situation is one of the most common ways to get infected with a computer virus. This tip goes for email attachments, links in text messages, and AirDrops from strangers. To go a step further, set your AirDrop settings to Contacts Only so random strangers can’t send you things you don’t want.

4. Talk to an adult about anything strange you see on the internet

If you come across anything that makes you uncomfortable or suspicious, don’t be afraid to quickly leave the web page and share about it with an adult you trust. You should be open and honest about what you see on the internet, and asking someone about it won’t get you in trouble.

The internet is such a part of our lives that it can be easy to forget that we need to be careful. These basics will go a long way toward keeping you safe so you can relax and get the most out of your time online.

Safe Search Kids Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.


Want to learn more about internet safety? Dig a little deeper into How to Know What to Trust Online.

How to Argue without Being Mean

What is he thinking? What’s wrong with her? How could they say those things? You want to talk back and let those friends know that you are right and they are wrong wrong wrong! How do you do that? You argue back—with Arguing Skill.  But you do it without being mean or spiteful.

  • NEVER ARGUE WHEN YOU ARE MAD OR SAD.

This is a hard one. When you feel like arguing about something, it is because the conflict makes you feel mad or sad.  But when you are mad or sad, you lose control. You just weep or stomp around. You won’t win an argument, and you might make people think you are silly. Also, when you are mad or sad, you are likely to call people names, which is a bad way to argue.

  • REALLY LISTEN AND HAVE RESPECT.

Part of being a ninja arguer is really hearing what the other person is saying. When you really understand what the other person thinks, you will be better at making that person understand you. if you really want someone to listen to you, you must listen to him or her.

  • BE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND WHY.

“Just ‘cause” is not a reason. You need to be able to say clearly and nicely what your goal is and give reasons why your opinion should win.

  • BE OPEN TO COMPROMISE.

COMPROMISE is when two people each give in a little to make a deal work. By compromising, both of you win.

Now, let’s see how these four points work in real life. Let’s start in the playground.

You’ve been playing basketball with your friends. After about an hour, Sandy grabs the ball and won’t give it back. She wants to go home and play video games. You want to keep playing, as do the other friends. You want to call her mean for taking the ball.

Instead, think. Put your hands on your hips and take a few steps, counting to ten. This gives you time to cool off (point 1).

Now, go back to Sandy and ask her why she wants to play video games rather than basketball (point 2).

Sandy says, “We’ve been playing all afternoon. It’s getting boring.” Being smart, you also listen with your eyes. You see that she’s sweaty and tired. Maybe she doesn’t want to sound weak. As her friend, you respect what she says. But there are still five of you that want to keep playing (point 3).“We’d like to keep playing,” you say. Then you reach point 4.

Compromise. So you say, “How about we use your ball and play a bit longer. I’ll drop it off at your house when it’s done.” Sandy could reply: “Mom told me not to lend the ball out.” What do you do? Here’s an idea: “How about we play for another fifteen minutes then we can all go play video games?”

Each argument is different, because the people arguing are different. The goal is to come to an agreement. The better you can argue, the better you can get along.

Learn more about friendship and how sometimes it’s just better to say no.

What is he thinking? What’s wrong with her? How could they say those things? You want to talk back and let those friends know that you are right and they are wrong wrong wrong! How do you do that? You argue back—with Arguing Skill.  But you do it without being mean or spiteful.

  • NEVER ARGUE WHEN YOU ARE MAD OR SAD.

This is a hard one. When you feel like arguing about something, it is because the conflict makes you feel mad or sad.  But when you are mad or sad, you lose control. You just weep or stomp around. You won’t win an argument, and you might make people think you are silly. Also, when you are mad or sad, you are likely to call people names, which is a bad way to argue.

  • REALLY LISTEN AND HAVE RESPECT.

Part of being a ninja arguer is really hearing what the other person is saying. When you really understand what the other person thinks, you will be better at making that person understand you. if you really want someone to listen to you, you must listen to him or her.

  • BE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND WHY.

“Just ‘cause” is not a reason. You need to be able to say clearly and nicely what your goal is and give reasons why your opinion should win.

  • BE OPEN TO COMPROMISE.

COMPROMISE is when two people each give in a little to make a deal work. By compromising, both of you win.

Now, let’s see how these four points work in real life. Let’s start in the playground.

You’ve been playing basketball with your friends. After about an hour, Sandy grabs the ball and won’t give it back. She wants to go home and play video games. You want to keep playing, as do the other friends. You want to call her mean for taking the ball.

Instead, think. Put your hands on your hips and take a few steps, counting to ten. This gives you time to cool off (point 1).

Now, go back to Sandy and ask her why she wants to play video games rather than basketball (point 2).

Sandy says, “We’ve been playing all afternoon. It’s getting boring.” Being smart, you also listen with your eyes. You see that she’s sweaty and tired. Maybe she doesn’t want to sound weak. As her friend, you respect what she says. But there are still five of you that want to keep playing (point 3).“We’d like to keep playing,” you say. Then you reach point 4.

Compromise. So you say, “How about we use your ball and play a bit longer. I’ll drop it off at your house when it’s done.” Sandy could reply: “Mom told me not to lend the ball out.” What do you do? Here’s an idea: “How about we play for another fifteen minutes then we can all go play video games?”

Each argument is different, because the people arguing are different. The goal is to come to an agreement. The better you can argue, the better you can get along.

Learn more about friendship and how sometimes it’s just better to say no.

Are you a Cyberbystander?

cyberbystander for online bullies

People talk a lot about cyberbullies and their victims. One part of this social ill that people rarely talk about is how bystanders effect the situation. Some researchers call them “cyberbystanders.” Cyberbystanders are those who watch cyberbullying while it happens.

They are the other people in chat rooms or on social media apps who can read the posts that the bully posts to the victim.

Cyberbystanders can be middle-school kids, college students or even business associates. These people will watch the exchange and have a chance to speak up. But do they?

Many studies have been done to see exactly what happens to cyberbystanders. A university study found that only one out of ten cyberbystanders will take a stand during the exchange. The action these people take is usually limited to posting support for the victim or posting comments that the bully should back off.

Most of the time, though, cyberbystanders do nothing. The studies seem to show that cyberbystanders didn’t want to get the middle of a situation that was none of their business. They didn’t seem to make the connection that they were on a public site—making everything that happened there public.

Some of the cyberbystanders who did nothing during the bullying did take action afterwards. They sent comments to moderators or to the site’s security officers. Moderators and site security can remove offending posts and even ban bullies from the site.

Companies are taking cyberbullying more seriously these days and will often respond to comments within hours. This can help prevent further bullying, but still doesn’t make a difference to the victim of the bullying that’s already happened.

Cyberbystanders online act much like real-life bystanders. When an accident happens on the street, if there are lots of people watching, then people are less likely to help. In other words, the more witnesses there are, the fewer people will help.

That is the same online. If lots of people are watching the posts and tweets, the less likely someone will step in and defend the victim or criticize the bully. If only a couple people are reading the posts—or witness the accident—the more likely they are to step in and help. On the other hand, the more people that are following an ugly exchange online, the more brutal the bully will be. It seems that bullies like an audience.

Social scientists are still trying to understand the difference cyberbystanders make to online communication. What you can do is remember that you are probably a cyberbystander. Talk with your teachers, friends or family about what you should do when you see bullying happen online. Don’t be one of the nine out of ten who does nothing.

People talk a lot about cyberbullies and their victims. One part of this social ill that people rarely talk about is how bystanders effect the situation. Some researchers call them “cyberbystanders.” Cyberbystanders are those who watch cyberbullying while it happens.

They are the other people in chat rooms or on social media apps who can read the posts that the bully posts to the victim.

Cyberbystanders can be middle-school kids, college students or even business associates. These people will watch the exchange and have a chance to speak up. But do they?

Many studies have been done to see exactly what happens to cyberbystanders. A university study found that only one out of ten cyberbystanders will take a stand during the exchange. The action these people take is usually limited to posting support for the victim or posting comments that the bully should back off.

Most of the time, though, cyberbystanders do nothing. The studies seem to show that cyberbystanders didn’t want to get the middle of a situation that was none of their business. They didn’t seem to make the connection that they were on a public site—making everything that happened there public.

Some of the cyberbystanders who did nothing during the bullying did take action afterwards. They sent comments to moderators or to the site’s security officers. Moderators and site security can remove offending posts and even ban bullies from the site.

Companies are taking cyberbullying more seriously these days and will often respond to comments within hours. This can help prevent further bullying, but still doesn’t make a difference to the victim of the bullying that’s already happened.

Cyberbystanders online act much like real-life bystanders. When an accident happens on the street, if there are lots of people watching, then people are less likely to help. In other words, the more witnesses there are, the fewer people will help.

That is the same online. If lots of people are watching the posts and tweets, the less likely someone will step in and defend the victim or criticize the bully. If only a couple people are reading the posts—or witness the accident—the more likely they are to step in and help. On the other hand, the more people that are following an ugly exchange online, the more brutal the bully will be. It seems that bullies like an audience.

Social scientists are still trying to understand the difference cyberbystanders make to online communication. What you can do is remember that you are probably a cyberbystander. Talk with your teachers, friends or family about what you should do when you see bullying happen online. Don’t be one of the nine out of ten who does nothing.