As the Internet grows as a tool for communication, learning and fun, more children are being exposed to the dangers of Internet predators and inappropriate materials on the web.
Here are some important steps that can help you protect your child:
- Place the computer in a public room in your home so you can monitor your child's Internet usage.
- Discuss Internet usage guidelines with your family. Create an Internet family pledge that includes how much time is allowed online, where kids can go online (school, home, etc.), which web sites are okay and which are off limits, and meeting friends they meet online.
- Teach your child to keep personal information private. Explain to you child that personal information, such as address, phone number, school name or location, and real names should never be revealed in chat rooms or other places on the net without your permission.
- Teach your child appropriate online behavior or "Netiquette". For example, explain that typing messages in all capitals equates to shouting.
- Encourage your child to share their Internet experiences with you. The more open you are to hearing their experiences, the more likely they will be to come to you if they encounter an uncomfortable situation.
- Read the privacy policies of any site that asks for your child's personal information before allowing your child to respond.
- Share an email account with your child so you can monitor their messages. Instruct your child never to respond to email or chat messages that make them feel uncomfortable. Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
- Inform your ISP of any inappropriate uses of the Internet encountered by your child.
- Bookmark your child's favorite websites for easy access.
- Learn how to block objectionable material. Know what parental control tools can and can not do and how they work.
Online Resources for Kids
- NetSmartz - Keeping Kids and Teens safe on the Internet.
- Stay Safe Online - providing free and non-technical cyber security and safety resources to the public, so consumers, small businesses and educators have the know how to avoid cyber crime.
- Kids Privacy - Resource created by the FTC for adults and kids to learn about online privacy and safety.
- Cybersitter - AntiSpam, Windows programs to keep kids from accessing objectionable and dangerous material.
- NetNanny - Keep kids and family safe while searching any site online.
- Optenet PC - An Internet filtering software and web filter for controlling Internet access and filtering web content.