On The Internet
For More Information
Visit the Kidz Privacy Site
The Savvy Traveler
Millions of people are traveling the
And as going online gets easier and more affordable, even more will venture into
Cyberspace is an image on a
computer screen, sometimes it is called a "virtual" world not actually
real. But travel anywhere has real risks and rewards. No matter where you go even
if you don't actually leave your home to get there common sense and knowledge are
your best travel companions.
Federal Trade Commission and your state
Attorney General offer this guide to help you prepare for your voyage and avoid fraud and
deception en route. We hope you'll share it with your family and especially with children,
so that they will be savvy travelers when they visit
Getting the Most From Your
|There is so much to do in
Cyberspace and so many "sites" to see that you
may wish you had a tour guide. Chances are your Internet service provider (ISP) offers a lot of information on its
web site from news to shopping to games
links to other
sites. If you know where you want to go, you can simply type in the
URL and go there. Or, you can use a search engine to look among
web sites to find what you're looking for.
|A little planning goes a
long way on the
Internet. Try to identify the sites you
want to visit or determine the subject areas you're interesed in learning more about. It
will help you save time, and if you pay for your
service by the hour, it will keep your charges under control.
You might visit a famous museum, catch the latest news,
chat room to discuss a topic that interests
you, learn about parenting, search for a travel bargain, purchase a book or CD, start a
part-time business, or
e-mail a letter to your far-flung
family in a single step.
Books, articles, friends, and people you work with can steer you to many
web sites. Once you're on the road, your own
curiosity and interests will lead you to even more sites.
Currency of Cyberspace
|When you enter a
web site look for a
policy that answers your questions about accuracy, access, security, and control of
personal information, as well as how information will be used, and whether it will be
provided to third parties.
||When you enter
you've arrived in a global marketplace stocked with products and services. But the
Internet's major currency is information. You seek it from
others. Others seek it from you. Marketers, in particular, want to know as much about you
and your buying habits as you are willing to tell. Since some information may be quite
personal, you'll want to know how it is gathered, how it is used, and occasionally abused.
Just as you might carry cash in a secret pouch when you go abroad, you may want to protect
certain information when you go online.
Information is gathered on the
Internet both directly and indirectly. When you enter a
chat room discussion, leave a message on a
bulletin board, register with a commercial
site, enter a contest, or order a product, you directly and knowingly send information
into Cyberspace. Often, a
web site may require information from you as the
"toll" you pay to enter.
Data also can be gathered indirectly, without your knowledge. For example,
your travels around a
web site can be tracked by a file
called a "cookie" left on your computer's hard
drive on your first visit to that site. When you revisit the site, it will open the
cookie file and access the stored information so it will know
how to greet you. You may even be welcomed by name. If you linger over a product or a
subject that interests you, it will be noted. And soon, you may see ads on the site that
look as if they've been custom tailored for you. As
sites gather information directly and indirectly, they can collect a complete data
picture of you and your family. This kind of information is valuable to marketers because
it helps them target their sales efforts.
Maintaining Privacy When
|It's difficult to be anonymous once you've ventured
Cyberspace. Expect to receive unsolicited
e-mail, even personalized ads that seem to
know you. This so-called
junk e-mail can be a
nuisance, even a scam. If it looks questionable, simply delete it. Check with your
for ways to limit unsolicited
|Know who you're
"talking" to. Don't give out personal information to strangers.
has its share of "snoopers" and con men. Guard your
password. It's the key to your account. People who work for
your service provider should never request your
If they do, refuse the request and report the incident to your service provider
When shopping online, be very careful about revealing your Social Security or credit
card number and shipping address. Many
scramble or encrypt information like that to ensure the safety of your personal data. Look
web sites you visit scramble or encrypt your
personal data. This technology is improving rapidly, but still is not foolproof.
Concerns about loss of privacy are not new. But the computer's ability to
gather and sort vast amounts of data and the
ability to distribute it globally magnify those concerns.
To a large extent, privacy is up to you when you enter a
web site. Look for a privacy statement. Sites that are most
sensitive to your privacy concerns not only have
policies, but also display them clearly and conspicuously, offer you a choice to share
your personal information or restrict its use, and explain how your information will be
Travel Insurance For
Experienced cybertravelers carry a little
"travel insurance" when they enter
Here are some tips from the experts:
Don't give out your account
to anyone, even someone claiming to be from your
service. Your account can be hijacked, and you can find unexpected charges on your
People aren't always who they seem to be in
Cyberspace. Be careful about giving out your credit card
number. The same applies to your Social Security number, phone number and home address.
Be aware that when you enter a
others can know you are there and can even
e-mail you once
chatting. To remain anonymous, you may want to
use a nickname for your
E-mail is relatively private but
not completely. Don't put anything into an electronic message that you wouldn't want
to see posted on a neighborhood bulletin board.
online service for
ways to reduce unsolicited commercial
e-mail. Learn to
junk e-mail, and delete it. Don't even read
it first. Never
attachment from an unknown source. Opening a file could expose your system to a
You can be defrauded online. If an offer is too hard to believe, don't
Credit rights and other consumer protection laws apply to
Internet transactions. If you have a problem, tell a
law enforcement agency.
Teach your children to check with you before giving out personal
or family information and to look for
policies when they enter a
web site that asks for
information about them. Many kids' sites now insist on a parent's approval before they
gather information from a child. Still, some openly admit they will use the information
any way they please.
Traveling With Children
Taking the kids on a trip into
Cyberspace can be a rewarding experience for you as well
as your children. Before embarking on your trip, you should know that
web sites collect a significant amount of personal
information from children, such as the child's name, postal and
e-mail address, and favorite activities and products. This
information can be collected by asking children to register with the site, join a kids'
club, enter a contest or complete a questionnaire online.
The personal information collected is used to create customer lists. In
some cases, these are sold to list brokers, who, in turn, rent the lists to other
advertisers. (Often, this practice is not revealed. Look at a
policy for an explanation of how the site handles your personal information.)
Sometimes this information is posted on the
web site in
"guest books," members' profiles,
or on home pages hosted by a
web site. Posting such
information may enable others to contact your child, possibly without your knowledge. It's
unlikely that you'd let personal information about your child be posted on a neighborhood
bulletin board; exercise the same caution with electronic
Children learn to use computers quickly, but because they lack life
experience, they can reveal information you might not wish to share. That's one reason
children should be supervised when they venture into
Here are some precautions you may want to take:
Internet with your
children. It's the best way to see what they see online. There are plenty of kid-friendly
sites; help your kids find them, and explain why it's best to be careful not to give out
their real name and address in
chat rooms, to online
pen pals and on
filters that allow you to
place certain sites and subjects off limits to your child. These "parent
controls" are available through your
service or through special software you can buy.
aren't foolproof, but they help. Some
filters to control the amount of unsolicited
e-mail you receive.
Have rules for going online. When your child has earned the right, issue
Cyberspace Passport and post it as a reminder of the
Teach your children the meaning of privacy and personal or family
information. Encourage them to post messages only with your permission and
Show your child the difference between an advertisement and
entertainment. A young child may not realize that an animated or cartoon character may be
gathering market data or trying to sell something.
Rules of the
Children act more responsibly when they know the
rules. That's why you may find the idea of a parent-child contract helpful when it comes
to using the Web. Here are some rules of the "virtual" road, along with a sample
Cyberspace Passport for children who accept the rules. You and your children may want to
These rules are for my safety. I will
honor them when I go online.
It's ___ OK ___ not OK for me to go
online without a parent.
I understand which sites I can visit and
which ones are off limits.
I won't give out information about myself or
my family without permission from my parents.
My password is my secret. I won't give it to
I will never agree to meet an online pal, or
send my picture, without permission from my parents.
I know an advertisement when I see one. I
also know that animated or cartoon characters aren't real and may be trying to sell me
something or to get information from me.
I will follow these same rules when I am at
home, in school, or at the library or a friend's.
A publication from the
Federal Trade Commission
and the National Association of Attorneys General.
Learning the Language
You don't have to be a computer expert to book a trip into
Cyberspace, but it certainly helps to know a few words of
cyber-speak. Before long, you'll sound like a native and get around like an experienced
BOOKMARK an online function that lets you
access your favorite web sites quickly.
BROWSER special software that allows you to
navigate several areas of the
Internet and view a web
BULLETIN BOARD/NEWSGROUP places
to leave an electronic message or share news that anyone can read and respond to.
Marketers or others can get your e-mail address from bulletin boards and newsgroups.
CHAT ROOM a place for people to converse
online by typing messages to each other. (Once you're in a chat room, others can contact
you by e-mail. Some online services monitor their chat rooms and encourage children to
report offensive chatter. Some allow parents to deny access to chat rooms altogether.)
CHATTING a way for a group of people to
converse online in real-time by typing messages to each other.
when you visit a site, a notation may be fed to a file " known as a
"cookie" in your computer for future reference. If you revisit the site, the
"cookie" file allows the web site to identify you as a "return" guest
and offer you products tailored to your interests or tastes. You can set your
online preferences to limit or let you know about "cookies" that a web site
places on your computer.
CYBERSPACE another name for the
DOWNLOAD the transfer of files or software from
a remote computer to your computer.
E-MAIL computer-to-computer messages between one or more individuals via the
software you can buy that lets you block access to web sites and content that you
may find unsuitable.
INTERNET the universal network that allows
computers to talk to other computers in words, text, graphics, and sound, anywhere in the
(Internet Service Provider) a service that allows
you to connect to the
Internet. When you sign up (it
takes special software and a modem), you'll be asked to enter a screen name, a secret
password and your credit card number. Usually, online charges are billed to your credit
card. Most providers allow you to review your monthly expenses online instead of sending
you a separate itemized bill. If you note unexpected charges from your ISP, call for an
explanation. If you're not satisfied with the explanation, or think you may be the victim
of fraud, write a letter to your credit card company and your state Attorney General.
JUNK E-MAIL unsolicited commercial e-mail;
also known as "spam." Usually junk e-mail doesn't contain the recipient's
address on the "To" line. Instead, the addressee is a made-up name, such as
"email@example.com." Or the address on the "To" line is identical to
the one on the "From' line.
KEYWORD a word you enter into a search engine to
begin the search for specific information or web sites.
highlighted words on a web site that allow you to connect to other parts
of the same web site or to other web sites.
LISTSERV an online mailing list that allows
individuals or organizations to send e"mail to groups of people at one time.
an internal or external device that connects your computer to a phone line and, if
you wish, to a company that can link you to the
ONLINE SERVICE an ISP with added
information, entertainment and shopping features.
PASSWORD a personal code that you use to access
your account with your ISP.
describing what information about you is collected by the site, and how it is used.
Ideally, the policy is posted prominently and offers you options about the use of your
personal information. These options are called opt-in and opt-out. An opt-in choice means
the web site won't use your information unless you specifically say it's okay. An opt-out
choice means the web site can use the information unless you specifically direct it not
SCREEN NAME the name you call yourself when
you communicate online. You may want to abbreviate your name or make up a name. Your ISP
may allow you to use several screen names.
SEARCH ENGINE a function that lets you
search for information and web sites. Using a search engine is like accessing the main
card file in a library, only easier. A few keywords can lead you almost anywhere on the
Internet. You can find search engines or a search function
on many web sites.
(Uniform Resource Locator) the address that lets you locate a particular site. For
example, http://www.ftc.gov is the URL for the Federal Trade Commission. All government
URLs end in .gov. Non-profit organizations and trade associations end in .org. For
example, http://www.naag.org is the URL for the National Association of Attorneys General.
Commercial companies now end in .com, although additional suffixes or domains may be used
as the number of businesses on the
Internet grows. Other
countries use different endings.
a file maliciously planted in your computer that can damage files and disrupt your
WEB SITE An
destination where you can look at and retrieve data. All the web sites in
the world, linked together, make up the World Wide Web or the "Web."