Internet Safety

Basic Rules

Set up some simple rules for your kids to follow while they’re using the Internet, such as:

  • Follow the rules you set, as well as those set by your Internet service provider.
  • Never trade personal photographs in the mail or scanned photographs over the Internet.
  • Never reveal personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name or location. Use only a screen name. Never agree to meet anyone from a chat room in person.
  • Never respond to a threatening email or message.
  • Always tell a parent about any communication or conversation that was scary.
  • If your child has a new “friend,” insist on being “introduced” online to that friend.

Online Protection Tools

Online tools are available that will let you control your kids’ access to adult material and help protect them from Internet predators. No option is going to guarantee that they’ll be kept away from 100% of the risks on the Internet. So it’s important to be aware of your kids’ computer activities and educate them about online risks.

Many Internet service providers (ISPs) provide parent-control options to block certain material from coming into a computer. You can also get software that helps block access to certain sites based on a “bad site” list that your ISP creates. Filtering programs can block sites from coming in and restrict personal information from being sent online. Other programs can monitor and track online activity. Also, make sure your kids create a screen name to protect their real identity.

Getting Involved in Kids’ Online Activities

It’s wise to take an active role in protecting your kids from Internet predators and sexually explicit materials online. To do that:

  • Become computer literate and learn how to block objectionable material.
  • Keep the computer in a common area, not in individual bedrooms, where you can watch and monitor its use.
  • Share an email account with your child so you can monitor messages.
  • Bookmark kids’ favorite sites for easy access.
  • Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
  • Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software. Be aware that posting messages to chat rooms reveals a user’s email address to others.
  • Monitor your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges.
  • Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child’s school, after-school center, friends’ homes, or anyplace where kids could use a computer without your supervision.
  • Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
  • Forward copies of obscene or threatening messages you or your kids get to your Internet service provider.
  • Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 if you’re aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography online. Contact your local law enforcement agency or the FBI if your child has received child pornography via the Internet.

The most important tool to keep your child safe is YOU!!!

Helpful Links

NetSmartz

Kids Health – Internet Safety

Parents Guide to Internet Safety: Keeping Your Child Safe Online