The Internet is an awesome and easy way to have fun, learn new things and make new friends because it connects people, places and information from all over the world. But what makes the Internet awesome can also make it dangerous.
That's why we encourage you to use the Internet in general, and the NFLRUSH website in particular, in a safe way by following the tips below. Feel free to print these tips and place them near the computer as a reminder that online safety must always be taken seriously.
- Never give out your personal information, not online and not off-line: Would you tell a stranger who you are or where you live? No way! Never give anyone your whole name or last name, age, address, telephone number, email or instant message account - and don't share anyone else's personal information either. Remember that personal information also includes the name of your school, favorite hangout and names of your friends.
- Don't use your real name as part of your screen name: You may think your screen name is super creative, but if it says too much about you it could be used to find out more information or for some negative purpose. Choose a unique screen name that you like best. If you want, ask your parents to help come up with ideas - it's a fun thing to do together, and it helps to keep you safe.
- Never share credit card numbers, and always get permission to buy things: If your parents have given you a credit card to pay for online charges, make sure you never share those numbers with anyone online and to always check with your parents before buying anything.
- Keep your password to yourself: Giving out your password is like giving your keys to a stranger! Do you want them going through your stuff while you're not home, or taking your things when you're not looking? No way! The same goes for your stuff online.
- Read the rules and follow them: Football has specific rules that every player must follow so the game remains totally fun and so your team avoids penalties. NFLRUSH, and every other youth site, has specific rules so that all users can have online fun. Please read the rules. If you don't understand any of them, ask questions. In the case of NFLRUSH, the rules are there to ensure all kids' safety and enjoyment while online. Breaking the rules ruins everyone's fun and could easily get you suspended or expelled from the site.
- Only share stuff that you don't mind everyone seeing or knowing: Anything you share online could be seen by your teachers, your parent(s) or legal guardian, your friends and even that guy in your science class who snorts when he laughs. The things you share online can cause hurt feelings or worse. Remember, once something has been posted to a web site or sent using email you can't take it back. It may haunt you for a long time. We encourage our users to show concern for other online users just as NFL players are encouraged to demonstrate concern for their teammates and good sportsmanship toward other players.
- Keep your photos offline: Photos show people exactly who you are and what you look like, and you have no control over how a photo may be used, amended and even re-posted by others. Play it safe and keep pictures offline, and don't accept pictures from other players. If you see any inappropriate photos or images, or any other materials that you think are offensive, they should be reported to NFLRUSH immediately.
- Never download stuff unless you know it's safe: Downloads can mess with your computer, put viruses on your hard drive, and steal information from you. Stop and think twice before you download anything, even if you think it's ok to do -- it can cost you time and money. Better safe than sorry!
- Keep your online friendships online: There are all kinds of cool people online, but not everyone is always who they claim to be and not everyone is reliable. It is generally not a good idea for anyone to meet up in the outside world with someone they know from an online site, no matter how nice they seem.
If you are asked to meet someone in-person, you should tell your parents and never meet anyone unless your parents go with you.
- Tell an adult if you feel unsafe, or just aren't sure about stuff: If someone or something online is making you feel uncomfortable in any way, immediately tell a parent or guardian, teacher or police officer. Sharing your feelings and asking for help is the smart thing to do!