Online Safety Guidelines

CONTENTS

Safety Guidelines for Teens
Safety Guidelines for Parents/Guardians
Deactivating a Flux Account OR Specific Community Memberships

 
Safety Guidelines for Teens

Social Project is the provider of Flux. We provide social networking and social media tools and services to community sites on the web. On community websites powered by Flux, you can express yourself, network with friends, and find interesting content. But Flux -powered web communities are publicly-available services, so always be careful. To avoid embarrassing or even dangerous situations, our best advice is to never, ever reveal personally-identifiable information over the Internet. Here are some more guidelines.

Never reveal personally-identifiable information.

We said this already, but it's important. It's not only against the rules to put personally-identifiable information in your profile, it also could be dangerous. Whether you're messaging, commenting, blogging, building your profile, or sharing content, do not reveal personally-identifiable information. Don't give out your real name, e-mail address, address, phone number, or hangouts. Don't give out personal information about your family or friends either. And if this information is available on other websites, don't add links to those sites.

Do not reply to inappropriate e-mails or messages.

If you do respond, you'll just encourage the sender to send you more inappropriate material. Instead of responding, block the sender. In most Flux-powered communities, to block a user in your friends list, log in, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar, select "Friends," select the user, and click "Block." (In certain communities, to manage your friends lists, log in and click your username or "Profile" in the top menu.) To block a stranger, visit their profile page and click "Block." Or from within your "Mail" inbox, find the offending user's message and click "Block." If blocking still doesn't seem to solve the problem, you can report the sender. Log in, go to the "More" menu, and select "Help" to contact the community site administrator. Or you can contact us at info@socialproject.com.

Be skeptical about people you communicate with or add as a friend.

If someone or something seems too good to be true, they probably are. So be careful. It's easy for people to lie about who they are, what they want from you, and even how they know you. Ask your parents to help you spot the lies. Don't let people think you are older or younger - if you lie about your age, we will ban your Flux Account.

If a stranger is rude or asks you personal questions, cut off all contact.

If a stranger is asking you personal questions or is being rude or malicious, stop communicating with him/her. Don't get dragged into a personal discussion or a fight. People like this often are looking to start trouble. Block the user. In most Flux-powered communities, to block a user in your friends list, log in, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar, select "Friends," select the user, and click "Block." (In certain communities, to manage your friend lists, log in and click your username or "Profile" in the top menu.) To block a stranger, visit their profile page and click "Block." Or from within your "Mail" inbox, find the offending user's message and click "Block." If blocking still doesn't seem to solve the problem, you can report the user. Log in, go to the "More" menu, and select "Help" to contact the community site administrator. Or you can contact us at info@socialproject.com.

Never meet an online stranger in person.

If you meet a stranger online, don't arrange to meet them in person. Not even in a crowded place. If the stranger is dangerous, they could follow you home. Instead, arrange to have them meet you first with your parents/guardians. If they are worth your friendship, this won't be a problem.

If you still decide to meet a stranger without your parents around, always be careful. Bring someone along with you. Make sure your parents or a trusted friend know who you are meeting, when, and where. Meet in a public place, with other people around.

Report inappropriate activity or content.

If you experience improper activity online – such as harassment, cyber-bullying, hate speech, spamming, phishing, inappropriate content – report it. When logged in, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar and select "Help." And don't be afraid to tell your parents and teachers about what happened. They are there to protect your safety. If they seem to overreact at first, explain that you understand online safety is important, and that's why you are telling them about this. Remember, a crime is a crime wherever it happens - online or offline. Law enforcement has sophisticated tools to conduct investigations online.

Never give out your e-mail and password - except to your parents.

Don't give your registration e-mail and password to a stranger. Don't even give them to a friend. If your friend acts recklessly, you could be put in danger. However, you must give your parents/guardians your valid registration e-mail addresses and passwords. Your parents need to be able to verify that you are safe online. Also, until you are 18, you use the Flux service at your parents' discretion – so at any time, they can contact us and ask us to modify, restrict, or deactivate your Flux Account, across any or all Flux-powered communities.

Do not post inappropriate pictures or other content.

If you post photos, stories, jokes, or other content with sexual references, you may unintentionally attract people who want to talk about sex. When you post content online, you are making a statement to the entire online world about who you are.

Realize that your posts will live forever online.


Assume that every e-mail, photo, video, blog, or comment that you post will stay online forever. Many search engines copy and save web content, even after the original page has been taken down or changed. Before you post something, think about it. Would you really want your parents, teacher, or boss to see it? Also, would you want it to surface again in your life, many years from now?

Talk with your parents; teach them about the Internet.


You may understand the Internet better than your parents, but they probably have valuable experience dealing with weird or dangerous people. Talk about the websites you visit and the people you meet online. Teach your parents abut the Internet and explain what you know about online safety. They just want to make sure you're safe, so listen to their concerns. And if they understand what's happening on the Internet, they will probably be more comfortable with you being online in general.

Ask your parents before downloading files or software.


Many files are unsafe. Some trigger annoying pop-up ads. Some conceal viruses. Some track everything you type, including e-mail addresses, passwords, credit card numbers, and other private information. Criminals use this to steal your money or your identity, and to cause other problems. Before downloading files or software, ask your parents for help.

Avoid adult sites.

Don't use web sites that have adult material or that facilitate communication with older adults. Even if you are experienced online, there are still things you may not be ready to deal with. Enjoy web sites appropriate for your age group.

Follow the Internet use rules of your parents and school.

If they set rules about your Internet use (which sites you can visit, how long you can stay online, etc.), follow those rules. If your parents have installed safety tools, don't try to disable or get around them. If you disagree with a rule, talk with them and explain why. If they trust you to follow their rules, they will probably feel more comfortable in relaxing the rules.

Visit online safety sites.

Many websites offer good online safety tips, including these:

The Children's Partnership
Common Sense Media
Connect Safely
Child Safety Network
Cyber Angels
FBI – Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
FTC – Social Networking Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens
FTC – Social Networking Safety Tips for Parents
Get Net Wise
Internet Crime Complaint Center
i-SAFE Internet Safety Education
Kids Online Resources
Microsoft – Tips for Security At Home
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
National Crime Prevention Council
Net Family News – Kid-Tech News for Parents
Net Smartz Kids
Parental Media Guide – Content Ratings
Safe Families – Tech Mission
Safe Kids
Safe Teens
Stay Safe
Stop Cyberbullying
Teen Angels
Web Wise Kids
Wired Kids
Wired Safety
Wired Teens

Deactivating Your Flux Account.


In most Flux-powered communities, log in, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar, select "Account," and click "Deactivate My Account." (In certain communities, to edit your Flux Account, log in and click your username in the top menu.) This will deactivate your entire Flux Account, including any memberships in Flux-powered communities you have joined.

Or you may contact us at info@socialproject.com to request deactivation. For identity verification, please be prepared to provide your registration e-mail address and password.

Deactivating Specific Community Memberships.

"More" menu, and select "Communities." From there, you can easily quit any of your listed communities. (Whether or not you are registered with Flux, some communities may permit you to access certain features and services not powered by Flux. Please review each site's terms and conditions for more information.)


 
Safety Guidelines for Parents/Guardians

The Internet is fun and useful, but like other public places, there are risks and potential dangers. Ensuring teen safety online is not the job of any one person, it is a group effort. However, parents and guardians play the most important role. Parents should make every effort to talk openly with their teens about their online experiences. Other parents, educators, online safety specialists, and teens themselves may offer useful support and advice. Every parent should develop an online safety plan for their teens, and set out online access rules. Here are some suggestions and guidelines:

Remind your teen not to post any personal information.

Community websites powered by Flux are visible to the public. Your teen should not post any personally-identifiable information online that would make it easy for a stranger to locate him or her, or to locate friends or family members. Personally-identifiable information includes, for example, real name, phone number, e-mail address, physical address, or links to any other web page containing personally-identifiable information.

Remind your teen not to post anything embarrassing or revealing.

Teens sometimes forget that adults can see what they post, sometimes long after it has been deleted from the web site. Tell you teen that, if he or she wouldn't want someone to see certain photos, videos, or other sensitive information, it shouldn't be posted.

Know your teen's registration data, including e-mail and password.

The Social Project Terms of Use make clear that if anyone under 18 uses the Flux service, they do so at the sole discretion of their parents or guardians. If you need to contact us to request that we modify or deactivate your teen's account, we will ask you to provide verification information, including your teen's registration e-mail address and password. If your teen has multiple accounts on the Flux service, gather up all applicable e-mails and passwords. Also, make sure your teen notifies you if that registration information is ever changed. Also, make sure that your teen does not give out registration information to anyone other than you, including friends.

Your teen should not lie about age. All users must be at least 13 years of age. We take extra steps to protect our younger members, but they must provide their true age. We will ban any users under 13, and any teens who lie about their age. (Note: certain Flux-powered communities may impose higher age limits.)

Consider your teen's maturity level. Is he/she ready for the Internet?

Each child is different. Parents know best whether or not their child needs extra parental guidance online. Is your teen mature enough to understand the risks that exist on the Internet?  Is your teen responsible enough to follow the suggested safety guidelines for online teens?  We suggest making every effort to ensure that your teen only uses the Internet with proper guidance.

Report inappropriate activity.

If your teen has experienced inappropriate activity online – such as harassment, cyber-bullying, hate speech, spamming, phishing, inappropriate content – or if you have any concerns about their online activity, you may report it immediately. Log in to your teen's account, go to the "More" in the quick navigation bar, and select "Help" to contact the community site administrator.   Or you can contact us at info@socialproject.com.

You may also block the offending user from contacting your teen online. In most Flux-powered communities, to block a user listed in your teen's friends list, log in, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar, select "Friends," select the user and click "Block."  (In certain communities, to manage your teen's friend lists, log in and click your teen's username or "Profile" in the top menu.)  To block a non-friend user, visit the user's profile page and click "Block."  Or from within your teen's "Mail" inbox, find the offending user's message and click "Block."

If your teen has experienced criminal conduct online, immediately contact your local authorities. A crime is a crime, wherever it happens - online or offline. Law enforcement agencies have sophisticated tools to conduct online investigations.

Deactivating Your Teen's Online Flux Account.  

The Flux-powered communities are not directed toward children younger than age 13, and Social Project does not knowingly collect information from children. However, if you believe your child under 13 has provided information to Social Project or created a Flux profile, please notify us so that we can delete any personal information your child younger than 13 has provided and deactivate their Flux Account. You can also deactivate their Flux Account. If your teen is between ages 13 - 18, they may use the Flux service but only at your discretion - so you can deactivate their Flux Account too.

In most Flux-powered communities, to deactivate your teen's entire Flux Account, log in to your teen's account, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar, select "Account," and click "Deactivate My Account."  (In certain communities, to edit the Flux Account, log in to your teen's Flux Account and click your teen's username in the top menu.) This will deactivate your teen's entire Flux Account, including any memberships in communities they have joined.

Or you may contact us at info@socialproject.com to request Flux Account deactivation. For identity verification, please be prepared to provide your teen's registration e-mail address and password.

Deactivating Your Teen's Specific Community Memberships.

Sometimes it may not be necessary to deactivate your teen's entire Flux Account, but just deactivate their membership in a specific Flux-powered community. Log in to your teen's account, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar and select "Communities."  From there, you can easily deactivate your teen's membership in any listed community.

If you are concerned that your teen may rejoin the deactivated community, contact us at info@socialproject.com to request a permanent community ban for your teen. For identity verification, please be prepared to provide your teen's registration e-mail address and password.

(Whether or not your teen is registered with Flux, some communities may permit access to certain features and services not powered by Flux. Please review each site's terms and conditions for more information.)

Some other general Internet use guidelines:

Learn the tech trends and talk with your teen.

Don't underestimate your teen's knowledge of computers and the Internet, but don't be intimidated if he or she seems to know more than you. Learn about the latest technologies that teens use, and talk with other parents. Ask your teen to teach you what he/she knows about computers and the Internet.

Go online as a family.

Use the Internet with your teen. Ask your teen to show you his/her favorite web sites, including account login information. Also ask for instant messenger account information. Encourage your team to teach you about things you don't understand.  If you spot safety concerns, point them out. Explain that your goal is not to invade your teen's privacy, but to ensure your teen's safety online.

Ask your teen what he/she does online.

If you don't know how your teen is using the Internet, just ask. Some things you can discuss include:

  • Where your teen accesses the Internet (at home, school, friends' homes, elsewhere).
  • How your ten gets online (computers, mobile phones).
  • How often and how much time your teen spends going online.
  • Whether your teen goes online alone or with other people.
  • What web sites and programs your teen likes to use when online.
  • What personal pages your ten maintains online, if any.
  • Whether your teen puts personal information online – contact information, photos, videos, other personal data – and how your teen protects this sensitive information.
  • What your teen knows about being safe online, and what he or she would do in a threatening situation.
  • Your teen's accounts, passwords, e-mail addresses, instant messenger names, and other screen-names.
  • With whom your teen communicates online.
  • Whether your teen has been contacted by adults or strangers.
  • Whether anyone has communicated online with your teen in an inappropriate manner, and if so, when, where, who, and what happened, and what your teen did about it.
  • Whether your teen has come across inappropriate content online, and if so, when, where, and what they saw, and what your teen did about it.

Remember - these questions are only intended to start a dialogue. No matter what your teen says, we respectfully suggest to not respond too emotionally. An angry interrogation can backfire by causing your teen to shut down and withhold information from you. The goal is to build trust and really understand how your teen uses the Internet, so you can work together and take appropriate protective steps.

Watch what your teen does online.

  • Put your home computer in an open space, such as the den, living room, kitchen. No computers in the bedroom.
  • Review the web sites your teen has visited. If necessary, look at the browser's history and web site cache. Make sure the history is set to record at least 14 days of activity. If your teen closes a window as you approach, find out why.
  • Review your teen's e-mail messages - both sent and received.
  • Review your teen's instant messenger and chat conversations.
  • Review photos and other files that your teen has saved.
  • If necessary, consider parental tools that can monitor your teen's online usage in your absence.

Your teen should not visit sites that enable communications between users, unless those sites have at least the following minimum safety measures:

  • Control over who is admitted into your teen's friend network.
  • Control over who can send messages to your teen.
  • Ability to report inappropriate content and users to a safety department.
  • Ability to remove content that your teen has posted.
  • Ability to deactivate your teen's account.

Establish Internet rules.

Set clear, appropriate online rules for your teen, based on their age and maturity. Some parents like to use actual written Internet use agreements. Make sure to regularly enforce these rules.

Use online safety tools, as appropriate.

There are three main categories of available safety software and tools:

  • Tools to filter and/or block inappropriate websites and content.
  • Tools to monitor your teen's Internet activity.
  • Tools to block your teen from posting personal information online.

Here are some popular protective software and tools:

Internet Safety Software
K9 Web Protection
Software 4 Parents 

Also, contact your Internet Service Provider ("ISP"). They should offer basic online safety features. Many ISPs also offer additional protective software and tools for parents.

Prevent access to inappropriate websites.

Teens just should not use certain websites. This includes sites with adult content and sites that facilitate communication with older adults. There are parental tools available that parents should use, to help prevent their children from accessing inappropriate sites.

Keep your own passwords secret.

As a parent, you should consider setting up secure administrator access to each computer at home, and with your ISP. Keep your login names and passwords (including e-mail access) secret, and change them often. Remember that some sites you visit may not be appropriate for your children.

Discuss online safety with your teens.

Parents should continually reinforce the safety message to their teens, educating them about online risks and dangers and teaching them how to use the Internet safely. Many websites offer good tips. Here are a few:

The Children's Partnership
Common Sense Media  
Connect Safely
Child Safety Network
Cyber Angels  
FBI – Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
FTC – Social Networking Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens  
FTC – Social Networking Safety Tips for Parents
Get Net Wise
Internet Crime Complaint Center 
i-SAFE Internet Safety Education
Kids Online Resources
Microsoft – Tips for Security At Home
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
National Crime Prevention Council
Net Family News – Kid-Tech News for Parents
Net Smartz Kids
Parental Media Guide – Content Ratings
Safe Families – Tech Mission
Safe Kids
Safe Teens
Stay Safe
Stop Cyberbullying
Teen Angels
Web Wise Kids
Wired Kids
Wired Safety
Wired Teens

Talk to your teen's friends' parents about Internet use.

Your teen may go online at his or her friend's home. Talk with that friend's parents, to understand their approach to online safety. If the parents do not take appropriate protective steps, don't allow your teen to visit that friend's home unattended.

Know school policies regarding Internet use.

Your teens may go online at school, so ask their teachers and school administrators how they handle Internet safety issues. Also, realize that your teen's online activity at home may have consequences at school:  many schools hold teens responsible for their conduct online, whether done on or off campus.


 
Deactivating a Flux Account OR
Specific Community Memberships


Deactivating A Flux Account

In most Flux-powered communities, log in to your account, go to the "More" menu in the quick navigation bar, select "Account," and click "Deactivate My Account."  (In certain communities, to edit your Flux Account, log in and click your username in the top menu.)  This will deactivate your Flux Account, including your membership in all Flux-powered communities.

Or you may contact us at info@socialproject.com to request Flux Account deactivation.  For identity verification purposes, please be prepared to provide the correct registration e-mail address and password for the account.

Deactivating Specific Community Memberships

If you don't want to deactivate entirely from Flux but just a specific community, log in, go to the "More" menu, and select "Communities."  From there, you can easily quit any listed community you have joined. 

Whether or not you are registered with Flux, some communities may permit you to access certain features and services not powered by Flux.  Please review each site's terms and conditions for more information.