Teen-agers in Columbiana County and Pittsburgh were lured away from home by people they "met" on the Internet. Here are ways to protect yourself when dealing with people on the Web.
Be sure you are dealing with someone you and your parents know and trust before giving out any personal information via the Internet.
Never give out identifying information, such as your name, address, school name or telephone number in a public chat room or on bulletin boards. Never send a picture of yourself without checking with a parent or guardian. Never give your password to anyone.
Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening or make you feel uncomfortable.
Be careful if someone offers you gifts or money. Be very careful about any offers that involve meeting someone or having someone visit your house.
Tell your parent or guardian right away if you come across information that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Never arrange a face-to-face meeting without telling a parent or guardian. If your parent or guardian agrees to the meeting, make sure you arrange to meet in a public place and have your parent or guardian with you.
Remember that people who are online may not be who they seem and, because you can't see or hear a person, it is easy for someone to misrepresent him or herself. Someone claiming to be a 12-year-old girl could be an older man.
Get to know online friends just as you get to know all of your other friends.
Report the transmission, use or viewing of child pornography online to the local FBI office, (216) 522-1400, in Cleveland, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678.
Source: FBI Web site (www.fbi.gov/kids).