Online Safety Pledge

Introduction and General Information

Addiction Social Network is working to become North America's leading Addiction support online community.
Our network allows members express themselves through their profiles, photos, blogs, forums and chats.

Addiction Social Network takes user safety seriously; and where applicable, we work diligently to make sure we comply with or exceed the recommendations agreed upon by the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, an organization formed by 49 State Attorneys General, several online communities, and hosted by The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

The tabs above will lead you through common online community scenarios and outline measures you should take to make sure that you and the people you care about are safe by using the site's safety features and account settings.

The Addiction Social Network Safety Pledge

By being an active member of the Addiction Social Network community, I agree to abide by these guidelines and pledge to help make the community a positive, safe, fun place to be for myself and the people I care about.

Users do acknowledge that no online communities or social networking sites are completely safe.You can help keep Addiction Social Network safe by reporting unsafe and offensive behavior to the site. If you believe that you encounter viable threats, please report the behavior to the site and contact the police offline.

Protect your personal contact information.Addiction Social Network and your profile on the site are public. Posting your personal information like email addresses, IM account names, phone numbers or mailing addresses is dangerous. We reserve the right to delete this information without warning and remove users who refuse to use the site in a safe manner.

User should report those lying about their age. This is risky practice, possibly dangerous.If you are under 18 and lying about your age, we reserve the right to delete your account. If you are an adult pretending to be a minor, you WILL be deleted.

Engaging in or soliciting sexual relations with a minor, no matter how old they claim to be, is a serious crime.If you engage in sexual conversations or relations with a minor, you can be prosecuted, convicted, and sent to prison.

Don't meet people in real life that you only "know" online.While we recommend that you not meet people offline, we recognize that some people will do so anyway. If you insist on meeting someone offline:

  • Go accompanied by a trusted adult,
  • Tell people where and who you are meeting,
  • Leave the person's contact information with someone,
  • Meet and stay in a public, high-traffic area, and
  • Let someone know when you expect to be back.

Cyber bullying is wrong and has potential criminal consequences.While Addiction Social Network reserves the right not to intervene in minor personal conflicts, cyber-bullying will get your account deleted, and, in some cases, you can be prosecuted. Please do not do it.

If you are having suicidal thoughts please get help immediately.If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out to an adult or mentor, and do not hesitate to call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-784-2733.
You can get additional assistance at

Take threats seriously.If you feel like someone is making a legitimate threat against you or someone else, you see someone performing illegal activities or making threats of illegal behavior against someone, or you think someone is in real danger of hurting himself or herself, please call the Police or 9-1-1 when appropriate.

NOTE: All complaints and reports sent to Addiction Social Network are always handled anonymously.

Addiction Social Network Safety: Teen Tips

The Internet is a treasure of information and a great place to spend time getting to know other people from all over the world, and from all walks of life. So as you connect with people, remember:

  • Do not lie about your age.You must be 13 years of age or older to belong to Addiction Social Network. Anyone suspected of being younger than 13 or claiming to be 18+ to access adult content will be deleted and IP address band.
  • Addiction Social Network is a public space.Do not post personally identifiable information like your phone number, address, IM screen name, or specific whereabouts.
  • Do not post anything that would make it easy for a stranger to pinpoint your location, like your local hangout or school. Have fun posting pictures, but remember to think about where you are taking them, what's around you, and what you're wearing that could identify you to a stranger (like school uniforms or well-known landmarks in the background).
  • Think before you post. Do not post anything that could embarrass you later or expose you to danger. People have access or can easily gain access to what you post on the Internet, including potential employers, colleges, teachers and peers that you might not even know. Do not post anything that you wouldn't want outside people knowing about you.
  • Protect your privacy. Keep your profile set to Private. Users under the age of 16 are automatically assigned a private profile. Only accept friend invitations from people you know and trust. Check out Account Privacy Settings for more options.
  • Report harassment, hate speech and inappropriate content.If you encounter inappropriate behavior, inform your parents or a trusted adult and report it to Addiction Social Network and if considered a viable threat to the authorities.
  • Do not get caught by a phishing scam.If you suddenly start receiving abnormal messages or vague invitations to click on links from a friend, they might have been phished. Check with them before opening any files or clicking on any links. If you think you, or a friend, are a victim of phishing, change your password immediately, and report the profile to Support@Addiction Social Network.com.
  • Avoid in-person meetings.Do not get together in person with someone you "meet" online unless you are certain of their actual identity. Talk it over with an adult first. If you decide to meet up, meet in a public place and bring along friends, your parents, or a trusted adult.

Tips for Parents & Educators

1. Parent-Teen Tips

2. Cyber-bullying

3. Online Sexual Predation

Parent-Teen Tips

Common Risky Online Behaviors

In a recent study, the Internet Safety Task Force reported that a combination of risky behaviors put users of all ages - but young people in particular - at more risk of being bullied, sexually accosted or exposed to inappropriate content than any one behavior on any given website. These common high-risk behaviors, in combination, include:

  • Posting personal information in profile or public area (forum, chat)
  • Sending/ sharing personal information with people you meet online
  • Making rude or nasty comments to someone on the Internet
  • Harassing or embarrassing someone
  • Talking with someone they met online outside established social network parameters (e.g. - outside the friends they know offline)
  • Keeping people on your IM buddy list that you don't know in person
  • Sexual behavior (talking about sex with someone met online, sharing pictures) Pornography seeking
  • Downloaded images from a file-sharing program

Engaging your child about their online interactions

Explaining to our children why these seemingly innocuous behaviors can, when combined, magnify the impact a stranger or offline contact can have on your life is a critical step in staying safe online. Children can and should be able to have an enjoyable, safe experience in online communities. Work these nine into a routine with your children:

  • Listen - ask the child where they go online, why, and what they like doing most. Listen for inconsistencies or simply incomplete stories. Follow up, explore, and open them to a fuller conversation about what they seek out online.
  • Communicate- remind them that what they do online is forever, and be direct about being wise with what they do and say online.
  • Participate- spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.
  • Stay vigilant- Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom; and review your child's cell phone records regularly.
  • Utilize parental controlsprovided by your service provider and/or blocking software.
  • Be nosey- Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.
  • Educate- Teach your child the responsible use of the resources online. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms than just socializing.
  • Networkwith other adults - find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child's school, the public library, and at the homes of your child's friends. These are all places, outside your normal supervision, where your child could encounter an on-line predator.
  • Be redundant- Review the safety rules of the sites they frequent regularly and discuss why...

    * As to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online;
    * As to never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet they could regret;

* Asto never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number online;
* As to ignore and report obscene, menacing, or obscene messages or bulletin board postings;
* As to not believe whatever someone says online.

Additional Resources on Parenting and the Internet

Cyber bullying

Contrary to what the mainstream media portrays in news reports on TV, the biggest threat to the security and well-being of youths online is victimization by peers. Often called "cyberbullying", this often takes the form of:

  • Stealing an individual's name and password to a social networking site, then using their profile to post rumors, gossip or other damaging information.
  • Altering photographs using photo editing software in order to humiliate the individual.
  • Recording conversations without the individual's knowledge or consent, then posting them online.
  • Creating confrontational and mean-spirited online discussion topics, groups, blogs and polls about the individual and posting links to them on different web sites.
  • Using web sites and blogs to post hurtful, embarrassing information about another individual.

If you, your friend or child are being cyberbullied, report it to school administrators, parents, law enforcement or some other trusted adult.

Also, report offending profile to the site administrators by using the "Report" button on the profile page. When reporting the profile to outside help, provide them with the entire web address of the profile, including the user name and the numerical code at the end of the profile's URL. By taking cyberbullying seriously, we take our children's emotional, mental and physical well-being seriously.

Facts and Statistics about Cyberbullying

  • According to the National Crime Prevention Center, over 40% of all teenagers with Internet access have reported being bullied online during the past year by peers.
  • Cyberbullying is usually an indicator of offline problems: 42% of youths who say they have been cyberbullied reported being bullied offline, as well.
  • More than half of all cyberbullying cases are committed by people users know offline, mostly teen girls victimizing other teen girls.
  • 27% of teen girls who get cyberbullied retaliate online, often escalating the conflict.
  • 73% of perpetrators are minors.
  • Offline bullying peaks in middle school. Online harassment and bullying peaks in high school.

Additional Resources on Cyberbullying

To learn more about how to identify when your child or loved one is getting cyber-bullied and how to handle it, check out the following links:

For parents and guardians:

For parents:

Online Sexual Predation

Online sexual predators approach youths in two main forms: indirect "grooming" and direct solicitation of sexual exploitation. While most youths demonstrate sound judgment when it comes to interacting with adults online, parents and educators should know the methods predators use to attract their victims:

  • Grooming: Some perpetrators approach children using on-line services and the Internet with an indirect approach that relies on the use of empathy - attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts. These individuals come off as sensitive and understanding of the challenges and issues of teens and children. They will devote a lot of time, money, and energy in "grooming" a victim; they will often be well versed in what is popular with teens in music, TV programming and trendy hobbies and interests.
  • Direct solicitations: Other offenders directly target and message young people online, seeking sexually explicit conversations with children. Some are interested in collecting and trading child-pornography, while others seek face-to-face meetings.

Statistics about Online Predation on Social Networks

According to recent research, teens are most at risk to being sexually victimized online because they unknowingly or knowingly engage in risky behaviors; and the notion of the "dirty old man" pursuing young minors as portrayed in the media is in accurate.

  • Females 14-17 receive the vast majority of sexual solicitations
  • The majority of solicitations come from males, 14-21
  • The majority of victimized teens did not just allow for contact with an adult. Rather, they allowed for multiple

Communication channels (IM'ing, chat rooms, and ultimately direct communication by cell phone),
multiplying the ways and frequency with which they could be solicited.

While most minors who are sexually solicited are approached by people generally of their own age group, the worst cases happen because they allow the perpetrators additional avenues to contact them by revealing their phone numbers, IM account names, and additional email accounts. If you or someone you care about has been sexually victimized online, report the matter to your local law enforcement agency, including the user name and the URL of the user being reported. Site administrators will work discreetly with law enforcement to pursue the matter in a timely, anonymous fashion.

Additional resources about online sexual predation

Links to help parents spot at-risk behavior and learn more about child exploitation, please check out these links:

Mobile Security Tips

  • The growth of the mobile Internet has spawned a content-rich, immediate communication channel beyond voice and text-message conversations. While the same online safety principles apply on mobile as on the PC, some lessons are even more important to remember:
    Do not text or use the mobile web on your device while driving.
  • Your mobile device is the most personal piece of technology you own. Treat it like you would a journal or diary, do not share your contact information or content stored on it easily, just because it is in the same screen as where you interact with online friends.
  • Never share your phone number with strangers from the Internet.
  • Think even more about what you are about to post to the Internet or share with friends. Once a photo or message is gone from your phone, it can go anywhere.
  • Phones are much easier to lose than computers. Keep your phone and its content password protected.
  • Do not store passwords on any device that you share with other people. What someone else might post or upload from your device will be your responsibility.
  • Do note, When logging into a site from your mobile, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder or able to read your password.
  • When uploading pictures, choose backgrounds that do not give away your location (street, business or school signs, popular intersections, etc.)

Account Privacy

The key to staying safe online is using your own security tools in combination with making good decisions.

Basic Account Security Measures

  • Set a strong password that you update regularly.Strong passwords are personally relevant words (so they're easy to remember), with at least eight characters with a number and a special character such as an "&" or "@".
  • Never share your password. No one who works for the site will ever ask for your password. No user should have access to your account, no matter how much they may ask for it. You are accountable for what happens while your account is logged in.
  • Do not trust websites that ask you to enter your Addiction Social Network username and password.Even if the page does not look like a fake MySpace login page, it may still be an attempt to steal your login credentials by pretending to offer you something, like a profile tracker or an e-card.
  • Always make sure you are on Addiction Social Network.com when you log in.Whether logging in from the phone or the computer, type the Addiction Social Network URL and login directly to ensure you're not on a fake login page.
  • Do not succumb to pressure scams.If you receive an email or IM, asking you to verify your account and/or giving you a time limit to respond you can assume that the email is fraudulent and is part of a phishing scam. Do not respond to the email in any way.
  • Do not click on unknown links embedded in an email.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware filters, and be sure to keep your operating system updated with the latest patches and firewall software.

Account Privacy Settings to Customize Your Experience

All accounts have the ability to limit contact from strangers. While users 18+ have more open settings, anyone can keep most strangers from contacting them.

  • IM's: you can set your IM's to be Public, Friends only, or none (turn them off).
  • Friend Requests: you can require that people who send you friend requests know your last name or off-site email address. Accounts for users age 16 and under have this setting activated as a default.
  • Inbox messages: like Friend Requests, users can limit the people who can contact them to their friends, and in tandem with their Friend Request settings, can thus minimize contact from strangers.
  • Ban: You can ban users who bother you by clicking on the Ban User button on their profile. If you are a chat room user, the Ban also bars them from contacting you via Private Message ("PM") in the chats.
  • Your uploaded content: You can set your photos to Public, Friends Only and Private as a default setting in your Account Settings. If you upload a lot of content and use our Folders feature, you can customize photo privacy settings to each individual folder.
  • Content comments: You can remove any comments people post on your photos or blogs, and you can also report any user who posts inappropriate or offensive comments on your content.

If you are on someone else's phone or they are on yours, make sure you log out of the site before closing the browser.

For a more complete list of features and how to manage them, please visit our Faq’s in the Help section, or feel free to ask questions in our Newbies forum.