Parent Tips for Internet Safety
The Internet has become a significant part of our lives, as well as our children’s. It can be a fun and exciting place to learn many new things. However, there are many dangers to children on the Internet as well. Parents can best protect their children by being actively involved in their children's Internet exploration and setting boundaries for their children’s Internet use.
Here is a list of tips that can help you keep your children safe when they are online:
Talk to your children about the dangers of the Internet.
Agree upon rules for Internet use before you allow them to go online. Use the “Family Contract for Internet Safety.”
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Do not hesitate to contact law enforcement.
Notify the police immediately if an online contact tries to meet with your child.
Do not allow your child to meet in person someone they met online.
If you choose to allow such a meeting, accompany your child and meet in a public place.
Protect personal information.
Never allow your child to provide addresses, phone numbers, names or the name and location of your child's school. Do not include personal information in an online profile. Pedophiles use profiles to find victims.
Keep online computers in a common room.
You should keep any computer that can access the Internet in the family room or other public area of the home, not in your child's room.
Educate your child on what is threatening and unsafe.
Teach your children to tell you if anything they see online makes them feel uncomfortable. Do not allow your child to respond to messages that are sexually suggestive, obscene or threatening. Forward such messages to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
See what they are doing.
Regularly have your children show you the websites they visit. Get to know their online friends just as you would their regular friends.
Use parental controls and/or blocking software.
There are software packages available that allow you to manage such things as what time your children have access to the Internet, how long they can be on online, and what sites they can or cannot access.
Check the web browser history files and cache on computers your children use.
Check what pages your child is visiting and how often they are viewing them.
Maintain access to the accounts and profiles your child has.
Visit their MySpace, Facebook and other social networking pages to see what is posted. Randomly review your child's e-mail account. Be prepared to set limits on their profiles and e-mail accounts.
Do not allow your children to use chat rooms.
Even seemingly safe “kids” chat rooms can be dangerous.
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