Four things parents can do to help their children be safe online:
- Place the computer in a high traffic part of your home.
- Make a point of walking by when your children are using the computer and observing what they are doing.
- Find out what sites your children visit and check them out yourself.
- Post the following rules near your computer and make sure your children understand them and are familiar with them. You may wish to have your children sign a paper stating that they will follow these rules when using the computer.
Online Safety Rules for Kids
- Never give out your name, address, telephone number or school name to anyone you meet online.
- Tell your parents right away if you come across any information that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Never agree to get together with someone you “meet” online without first checking with your parents.
- Never send a person your picture or anything else without first checking with your parents.
- Do not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make you feel uncomfortable.
- Talk with your parents so you can set up rules for going online.
- Only give out your passwords to your parents and nobody else (even your best friends).
- Check with your parents before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt your computer or jeopardize your family’s privacy.
- Don’t open emails, files or web pages you get from people you don’t know or trust.
- Be a good online citizen and don’t do anything that hurts other people or is against the law.
A very good source for parents is the informational pamphlet "Child Safety on the Information Highway" by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Interactive Services Association. You can find a copy at safekids.com. Parents may also want to visit the GetNetWise Site which provides a glossary of Internet terms, a guide to online safety, directions for reporting online trouble, a directory of online safety tools, and recommended sites for children to visit.