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    From a Project Inspired Girl, McKenzie – Internet Safety: Why You Need To Be On Guard!

    I just watched the movie, Trust and I believe it’s a must-see for girls above the age of 11 (I would say below 11, too, but due to some explicit material, 11 feels like a more proper age). This movie is about the life of a young, average 14-year-old girl named Annie. She looks like any one of us, she plays volleyball, she has friends…but she’s lonely.

    She, like many of us, tries to fill that void by using cyberspace. In this case, Annie uses chat on the web. Many of you have probably at least once or twice saw a cute guy on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.) whom you were tempted to get to know or even send a simple IM to.

    I mean, what could it hurt? Unfortunately, a small IM can turn into something serious. Loneliness can be one of the greatest demons a person can have to deal with, and I truly believe it can make us do anything.

    I’m going to give you a few basic ‘no exception’ rules to keep you safe online.

    1. Don’t give out personal information to anyone whom you haven’t directly met in person. This includes the name of your schools, names of family members and even the city you live in! You never know who a person could turn out to be unless you’ve met them face to face — NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY OR HOW NICE THEIR PICTURE LOOKS! All these things can be made up and changed at a moment’s notice, even phone numbers and addresses. Predators move constantly so that they can avoid being caught.

    2.) Never ever, ever put naked pictures of yourself on the internet or send to friends. You are beautiful no matter what anyone tells you and you do not need to send improper pictures to prove it. You need to be loved and cherished for who you are on the inside, not what others think of you on the outside. As God’s princesses, we are loved more than our imaginations could ever comprehend!

    3. Don’t ever engage in sexting, talking sexually on IM with anyone, even those you have met and know. Although this has been said many times, let me repeat — nothing is secret on the internet, EVER.

    4. Never agree to meet with someone you don’t know — especially alone. If anyone says to you, “Don’t tell your parents” or “No one needs to know” or if they say, “Don’t you trust me?” — usually something is up and you should tell an adult right away. As a teenager, I know parents can be nagging, or the complete opposite — they ignore you. However, they do have your best interest in mind whether or not we would like to believe it. They were teens, too, once and know the temptations we deal with (maybe just not with the internet and electronics!). If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, go to someone you know and trust. It can be a nurse, a church leader, even a counselor. They’re there to help you and they want to help you, it’s why they signed up for their job!

    5. Most important rule to always remember: Internet predators know the ways of female minds — especially that of younger girls. Internet predators will do anything and everything to seduce you into getting what they want, whether it be pictures or dirty talk. What’s become more common, too, is face to face meet ups!

    This can result in kidnapping, rape and much worse things that we couldn’t even imagine. They may say they love you and that they care about you and that ‘heartthrob’ line, “You are the only one who gets me” — they will say exactly everything you want to hear!

    They have more than likely done it time and time again to many other girls. The saddest thing about this is that no matter what they say, they will leave eventually because they are predators and we, the females, are the prey! The sickest part? The “cutie” you’ve been talking to online, the one who sent those pictures and said he’s 16? Guess again — he’s really 43!

    As a last note I’d like to say — please watch the movie Trust and recommend it in your health classes, youth groups, to your friends, everyone and anyone! There is a serious lack of knowledge about internet safety and the true dangers of the terrible ways men deceive and trick wonderful girls by using their weaknesses against them.

    So, remember you are never alone and you are loved and beautiful and completely and wonderfully made by God our Father!

    Stay safe and God Bless you all!

    Written by Kenzie Marie

    PI Contributor
    We love to get your article submissions! Nicole reads every single one of them. Send your submissions here.

    56 COMMENTS

    1. Great article! Its important to be safe online and I tell that to my friends because there willing to accept and add anyone they don’t know on Facebook which is dangerous. Thanks for writing about this.

      • yes, i’ve never understood adding people whom you dont know. the purpose of FB is to interact and share with your friends. if theyre not your friend, or if you dont even know them at all, then what is the point?

        • Facebook is sooo shallow anyways! No one is really posting something encouraging and all. There are arguments that go on in FB and even flirting. I am on FB, but really, it is boring. I would MUCH rather search for REAL people and not people making themselves up to be someone there not!

          I am not saying FB is bad, I am just saying that it is a community of shallow, boring, complaining people!!!! I think we should be on guard on what we read, post, and to talk to on there. that’s all…

    2. this is awesome! WHY CANT MY SISTER LISTEN TO ME?!! DX I tell her this stuff all the time, but she INSISTS giving her phone # to a “British” friend on a “Christian” forum so that she can text him and talk to him. and she’s no where NEAR careful. it really scares me. and I’m the YOUNGER sibling. :/

    3. I had a friend a while ago that gave her information to a guy on Myspace. He said he was 19, he texted her all the time, and even sent gifts to her house. She lied that she was 18, she was really 13. You can easily lie on the internet, not everything on the internet is true.

    4. I never did watch this movie, but planned on it when I heard David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends) talk about it a while ago. He’s the director. I will definitely watch it! Thanks for reminding me. Personally, I don’t advise anyone to make friends on a chat room online. If you are lonely, I suggest joining a Church or Christian group. Another option is to find a hobby and join a club with people that share that same interest. Face to face interaction is the best bet against befriending an online predator. God bless and be safe.

    5. This is so good to read for young girls! I’m 14 almost 15 and ibwould never talk to a stranger online but it’s good to read these things once in awhile cuz it always reminds me o be safe and remember that a picture or anything is always public on the Internet and can last forever

    6. Hi, Mckenzie!

      I have not yet seen Trust, but I have wanted to since I heard about it on the Ellen show. It’s so great for me to see another teenager, like myself, who is aware and concerned about the online behavior of our peers!

      I have been part of an internet safety organization for going on 3 years now and have since learned of the dangers present in the WWW, as well as how to have fun on the internet while staying safe at the same time.

      I’ve heard that the teenage years of one’s life can be the loneliest, which I have found to be true at times. That’s why it is important for each of us to educate ourselves on the one place where, when all else seems to fail, we feel we can find acceptance: the internet.

      First of all, I’d like to start out by saying, “Great job!!!” Did you learn all of the information that you wrote in this article from the movie, or did you look into it more afterwards?

      I’d also like to contribute a little more to the rules you already posted; I hope you don’t mind. 🙂

      Under rule #1: (“Don’t give out personal information to anyone whom you haven’t directly met in person.”)

      You listed:
      -Name of school
      -Names of family members
      -City of residence
      (You also mentioned that addresses and phone numbers could be altered, but not that you shouldn’t post them)

      Also include:
      -Your name (with the exception of Facebook and social networking sites that state that you must provide only accurate information in the Terms of Use; On other sites, if it is possible to hide your real name and only display a screen name, the go that route)
      -Your age (same rules as above)
      -Names of your friends
      -School colors
      -Photos of yourself, friends or family
      -Street addresses of any kind
      -Email addresses (on Facebook, you must have a primary email account associated with your profile which is automatically displayed; do everything in your power to keep its visibility to a minimum, such as making your profile viewable to friends only)
      -Phone numbers (I like to text my status to Facebook when I don’t have any mobile internet coverage. The first time you do this, your phone number will be automatically added to your profile; however, you can completely remove it next time you have internet access)
      -Family problems (don’t invite strangers into your personal life)
      _____

      Under rule #2: (“Never ever, ever put naked pictures of yourself on the internet or send to friends.”)

      It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to take nude pictures of themselves or others, as well as to distribute it. It doesn’t matter if you send it to your best friend or the boy you think you’re “so in love” with; how do you know that you can trust them 100% not to forward it? You don’t. You may think you can, but a simple fight over who sits by who’s ex-boyfriend at the lunch table during school can change everything in an instant. Once you hit the Send button, you have absolutely NO control over who will possess that message in the future.
      _____

      Under rule #3: (“Don’t ever engage in sexting, talking sexually on IM, even with those you have met and know.”)

      “Sexting” is a combination of the two words “sex” and “texting”. This not only includes the internet, but also every other electronic device that allows you to send and receive messages, such as a cell phone, and does not only reference to text, but also to pornographic pictures (mentioned above).
      _____

      Under rule #4: (“Never agree to meet with someone you don’t know — especially alone.”)

      You’ve got this down!

      However, if you would like to meet someone in person that you have only met online, (and I am not encouraging it) include your parents in the meeting and arrange to meet at a local PD. If your online friend suggests you meet somewhere less public and without your parents, it’s likely they do not have good intentions.
      _____

      Under rule #5: (“Most important rule to always remember: Internet predators know the ways of female minds — especially that of younger girls.”)

      Ok, so..there is a common misconception that all predators are men, and that the male predators only prey on females. Whether they are male or female, (you already said this) predators know how to “groom” their prey. They will pretend they have lots in common with you, “listen” to your problems, and tell you what you want to hear. They become anything everything you want them to be.
      _____

      Talk to your family and friends about staying safe online! Knowledge is power, and who knows-you may save a life! After all, knowledge is power!

    7. Great article. But I feel like no matter what people will tell them, so many girls will just ignore them and and go on doing these risky things without ever giving a thought to what could happen. It angers me that so many girls are not even concerned about their own safety. They think they are grown up enough and smart enough to handle anything when so many times that proves not to be true……

    8. thnx sooo much for writing this article: exactly why i don’t have a fb account…. my parents think it’s too dangerous. personally i think if you have fb, then only chat with people you KNOW in reality, and don’t make friends with people you’ve never met and don’t know. 🙂 always keep this in mind!!

    9. Now I really want to see that movie! It’s always refreshing to see a movie that promotes something good, like internet safety. We hear all these rules constantly, but sometimes, it takes just the right person telling you for it to really sink in.

    10. Great article! And watch out for “Christian dating sites” as well! Because it may seem like a safe place, but I’m quite sure it is loaded with creeps! Plus, you are not letting God do His work, you are taking away His power and putting it in your hands.

    11. I’m the writer 🙂 and thank you guys so much! I’m so so so happy it was helpful to you all! made my week ! share this with your friends if you have a moment this needs to get out girls! 😀 God Bless you all!

    12. Hey!
      all true stuff, thanks for the refresher on internet safety!

      I have an interesting story, can’t remember where i heard it so i can’t verify it though-
      So a 15 year-old girl was online and a boy started IMing her in a chatroom, normal right? she didn’t know the kid, but he was fun to talk to and said he was her age and from her school, so she figured they had probably met before but she just couldn’t remember him.
      well they talked for a few minutes, and eventually the topic of sports came up. he asked her what she played and she said softball. he said “you’re on the red and white team, right?” and she replied “no, i’m on the blue and yellow team”. he said he thought he knew her, and “ohhh you play pitcher!” and she replied that she actually played left-feild. he said he had to go, but would talk to her again soon. so they quit talking and the boy got to work.
      well, the boy wasn’t really a boy from her school, he was a cop. he wanted to teach teens about how easy it is to let personal info out on the internet, and that’s why he was in the chat room in the first place. so he looked up the left-feild player on the local team with blue and yellow colors and found her name, and that night when she came home from the game he was on her doorstep to meet her and her mom and gave her a chat about internet safety.
      all it takes is that much info for someone to know who you are, and a little asking around on facebook to find out where you live. creepy huh?
      be careful out there!

    13. Probably not going to watch this, and I sort of feel the need not to. Although I’ve broken a couple of these rules (none of the sick ones, I’d say), a lot of things have occurred or shown up to prove that the online people closest to me (not that many of them) are trustworthy. In fact, I don’t think I’ve told anyone online anything besides my age in first name and non-ID-ing information (ex. “Yeah I have a brother,” “I used to have a cat when I was younger,” etc.) in ages. The last people I DID tell anything were almost a year ago. Anyway, I only keep a few of my online friends “close” and they’re the ones I’ve scrutinized and have decided to trust. Haven’t added any other online friend to that number in ages.

      Funny things have happened online to me in which I’m now certain God has had a hand in, even when I didn’t realize it at the moment, and I’m thankful for that as well as for the few special friends in my life He has given me through the internet as well and have in fact, helped me grow in the Lord.

      However, most of the time–not a safe thing to do. I can trust my own judgment, sure, but I can’t really explain to someone else “This is how you know for sure that the person’s okay” because situations can be so complex.

      Although I’m someone who thinks I’m internet savvy enough to know or figure out when or when not to trust someone, I personally wouldn’t recommend anyone else to try it and would probably tell them the same thing about not telling a person your whole name, where you live, what you look like, etc. You know the drill.

    14. One of the best series that you can read to help yourself become more aware of just how evil people can be is a series by a woman named Ann Rule. Ann Rule was actually friends with Ted Bundy and started writing true crime books soon after that. These books can be explicit so you might want to monitor yourself. Anyway thank you for sharing this article as I think that the more information that is out there and available for people to read the better of we will be!

    15. I think the movie Cyberbully, on ABC, is a good movie to. But I girls 14 and up should watch it only. There is some things that are talked about that are only appropriate for this age and up. It is about a normal high school girl who gets cyberbullied. Has a very good lesson.

    16. i one time heard about this girl named Abby (about 15) who chatted with this guy she didnt know online. He said that he was 16 and lived in Washington. She thought he lived far away and was safe so she told him she lived in Texas, she played spftball for her school, she told him what school she went to, her team name, her jersey number, and that she walked home from school. He didnt directly ask her these things but he got it out of her anyways by asking her why she was so annoyed when she said she was and she told him that her team, the Yellow Jackets had lost and it was really hot that day and she had a ton of homework and had to walk home. One day at a softball game at her school, a strange man(about 40) was watching her, smiling. After the game, Abby walked home and thought that the man was following her. That night, after dinner, her parents called her into the dining room. The strange guy was there.
      her dad said, “Abby, this is Paul, hes an undercover policeman who patrols the internet and makes fake profiles to keep teens safe on the internet. He told me that you gave him personall information and he was able to figure out that you lived here.”
      “You probably thought that since i said i lived in washington that i was safe and couldnt harm you. But in reality i lived in texas and i am not 16. I could have kidnapped or harmed you. Let this be a lesson to not give away personnal information anymore,” Paul said.
      Abby never gave away personnal info again and only chatted with people she knew. She remembered this story and told all her friends so that they would never end up being killed, raped, robbed, or kidnap for stupid mistakes.

    17. I’ve sexted and I’ve talked dirty to my bf before but I trust him and I know I shouldn’t have done it but I don’t regret it at all…But you girls AND BOYS shouldn’t do it at all! I’ve been targeted by a predator before. On Facebook, I accept all friend requests, but I usually ‘creep’ on someones info for a while after I friend them and I talk to them but I know the warning signs and once this guy named Bara Saed tried to talk to me…He started off with “Hey cutie, your name is really pretty.” I replied with “Umm…Thanks…?” Then he asked “How old are you?” And I said “I don’t see why you need that.” Then he said “Well, where do you live?” And I said “Why would I tell you, I’ve never met you” and he said “Well, would you like to change that? We could meet up some place some time :)” After that I didn’t respond. I unfriended and reported him, but before I did that I sent a message to each of the people on his friend list, which over half were girls my age! Lets just say, he’s a few hundred friends less.

      • I know how that is! I got a friend request, and I wasn’t sure who it was. The name looked familiar. So I asked ALL my friends who he was. An all of them said I knew him. So I decided to ask him through a pm how he knew me. He said he knew my bff etc. So I asked her and she said he was a real person and went to our school etc. He called me pretty and crap, and I told him to back off, and i looked in the yearbook… he wasn’t in there. Suddenly I find out… he is my best friends best guy friends alias. It was just a pen name, a fictional character made as a prank for me. Luckily I de friended him right as I looked at his wall and figured out that he was just an alias.

    18. i think that was a very good movie with a very good message but i would absolutely NOT recommend it to 11 or 12 year old girls. i would actually recommend it to someone who is in high school but no younger, there was a lot of cussing and some scenes were very disturbing. im 14 and i had to fast forward because it was so intense. but i do agree that girls my age should NOT put out any info, i have my facebook set on friends only for everything and i NEVER friend anyone i dont know. i pray that girls that DO do things like that would realize that it is wrong and very dangerous.

    19. To anyone who may want to help,
      I was on a site called chatroulette and i was talking to these guys. They convinced me to give them my phone number. Later that night one of them texted me asking if I wanted to play a dirty game. I was in the moment and wanting to impress him because he is 17 and I’m fifteen. He got me to send a picture of my breasts and then he sent a picture of his penis. At the moment I thought it was cool, but when I woke up this morning and remembered what had happened I felt sick to my stomach. I deleted all our texts and the pictures. I also deleted his number from my phone. He’s texted me a couple times today but evertime I don’t answer and I delete them. He has yet to text me in a few hours so I think he isn’t interested anymore. Even though I deleted all the evidence I still think about and feel sick. Please tell me what I should do.

    20. I’m a big Law & Order SVU fan, and believe me, if you ever need a brush up on remembering why you have to be a “party pooper” on the internet, there are many many episodes where children/women have let down their guard. So sad!!!

      This article is really so important, especially since as Christians we try to avoid the temptations and dangers of the world and this combined with the naivety of youth combined with a computer is a recipe for disaster!

    21. I completely agree with the rules for protecting yourself on the internet, it is a very scary place but i really don’t feel that this movie “Trust” should be advertised on here, especially on the age mark given (11+). I have just watched this movie with an 11 year old and i have to say it was quite disturbing and had many scenes of a violent sexual nature which i don’t find suitable for anyone under 18 years of age. Nicole is trying to ban Cosmopolitan from targeting young children because of its degree of explicit content, why are you advertising this movie for 11+?
      So for anyone reading this article and thinking that it is suitable for children, I’m sorry but i have to disagree. Although it sent a very strong message and made myself and others very aware i think that younger children can learn safety on the internet another way than this movie and wait until an appropriate age to watch it.
      Stay safe on the Internet and Peace.

    22. Gee.. This is really a great REMINDER! Thank you very much for making this kind of post. This will really help a lot of teenager girls nowadays… Because cyberworld is really famous and some people don’t know how to behave in that certain world well. 😀 Great Article.

    Project Inspired

    We here at Project Inspired want to guide and inspire teen girls to be true to themselves and to God. We want to show young girls how to be people of value and confidence – how to be your own best selves – through leading a Christian life. Who are we? We're a team of girls, like you. We edit the site, we post to social media, we hang out in the chat rooms and forums. We talk with you, we listen to you, and we love you!

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