The Internet is an increasingly important place for
children to learn, work and play. But it also presents challenges for
parents, teens and younger children, especially considering the anonymity
that masks users.
You can help your child avoid online pornography and
encounters with predators, hackers and others who would exploit children and
their personal information by establishing rules for Internet use, and
making sure the rules are enforced.
General tips for parents:
Learn everything you can about the Internet. Have your
children show you the sites they visit, learn chat room lingo and acronyms
that chatters use (like POS for Parent Over Shoulder; more examples
are included on this page.). Know what other Internet functionality your
child may have access to like instant messaging, chat, e-mail and other
text messaging. Visit
www.cybertipline.com for a quick lesson.
Establish approved Internet time and territory. Make it
clear to children what sites they can and cannot visit, what hours they
may use Internet, and with whom they may communicate.
Keep the computer in a common area of the home, such as
a living room or family room, where adults can easily monitor online
Discuss the importance of telling you or a trusted
adult if something ever makes your child or teen feel scared,
uncomfortable or confused while online.
Consider safeguarding options like site blocking,
filtering and monitoring. Enter these keywords into any search engine to
learn more about software and browser settings that can help you control
where children and teens go online. Know how to set parental controls and
check the browser's history files.
Show your children how to turn off the monitor when
something makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused.
Make sure you are aware of any other places your child
may be using the Internet, such as a friend's house or the library.
Talk to your children about what personal information
is and why they should never give it out.
Check the e-mail your children receive for appropriate
content. All too often, e-mail addresses are "harvested" by unscrupulous
marketers; the resulting "spam" messages frequently contain adult content.
NEVER post your child's e-mail address in any
Don't "unsubscribe" on unwanted, un-requested or
unsolicited e-mail. Don't sign up for free offers (remember, if it sounds
too good to be true, it is!).
Don't forward e-mails to everyone in your address book.
Make sure children only exchange email with people they
know and let them use chat areas you supervise.
Tips for children and teens:
Print these requirements and post them near the computer in your home
after discussing them with your family:
Don't give out your personal information such as name,
age, address, telephone number, parent/guardian's name, and school
Do not respond to mean, offensive, threatening, or
unwanted email or instant messaging.
Choose a screen name that doesn't identify you as a
young boy or girl.
Don't share your password with anyone (except a
parent/guardian)-not even your best friend.
NEVER agree to meet with someone you don't know.
Remember, people online may or MAY NOT be who they say they are.
Tell your parents, a teacher or trusted adult if you
read or see something online that makes you uncomfortable or if someone
threatens you or suggests you meet.