Cover Story: Safe Surfin'
Top Ten Ways to Stay Safe Online

By Del Harvey, Perverted Justice, Special to Sweet Designs Magazine

Del Harvey, Law Enforcement Coordinator with the watchdog group Perverted Justice, is regularly featured on Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator." Del and I have been messaging back and forth for several months, and recently I asked her how teens could best stay safe online. She responded with her Top Ten Tips, written for viewers of Sweet Designs Magazine.

1. Never give out your telephone number, address, addresses of friends or relatives, or the name or address of the school you go to.

2. Always talk to your parents if anyone says or does anything that makes you uncomfortable - whether just talking or joking, or sending you material that you find unpleasant or disturbing.

3. Never ever agree to meet someone in person you don't already know in real life, period. There are still risks, even if they seem nice, tell you they're your age, or want to meet you in a place where there are a lot of people around.

4. Never send pictures of yourself to someone you don't know. This includes adding strangers to your MySpace buddy list if you don't already know them from school, church, or your neighborhood.

5. Be sure not to reveal too much information about yourself with your screen names. Calling yourself "BostonGirl1993" lets people know that you might live in Boston and are under 18. Never include real names, birth dates, locations, or suggestive language when choosing a screen name.

6. Always keep your MySpace private so that it can only be viewed by people on your friends list. For extra security, enable the setting that requires someone know your last name or email address in order to add you. MySpace can be relatively safe if you keep your friends limited to those you already know in real life.

7. If you know of a friend or relative your age who has received inappropriate contact from someone they don't know, tell an adult immediately.

8. Remember that people are not always who they say they are. A person with a cute photo may be someone else entirely, and it's nearly impossible to tell without giving away too much information about yourself. Stick to the friends you know and trust.

9. Never attempt to "catch" a person you think is behaving inappropriately online. Tell an adult so that they can contact proper authorities.

10. The internet can be a fun, educational place, but always use caution and discretion when it comes to your identity. You may have the best intentions at heart, but not everyone else on the internet does.

Thanks, Del! For more on Del Harvey and this important subject, please visit

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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