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Safety Tips

Basics of Internet Safety

  • Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
  • Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
  • Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices and laptops.
  • Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
  • Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming and using webcams.
  • Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.

Blogging

  • Establish guidelines with your child before allowing him or her to blog, such as reviewing your child's blogs before posting.
  • Ensure that your child is using privacy settings.
  • Have your child remove any identifying information from all postings—full names, ages, locations, phone numbers and school names.
  • Caution your child about the dangers of posting inappropriate or provocative information or images. Once something is posted online, it cannot be taken back.
  • Encourage your child to come to you if anything on the blog site makes him or her feel uncomfortable.

Signs an online predator may be connecting with your child

  • Your child becomes withdrawn and isolated from family and friends.
  • You find inappropriate material on the computer.
  • Your child receives mail, money or gifts from unknown people.
  • You see unknown phone numbers when reviewing the phone bill.

Cyberbullying

  • Tell your child not to respond to rude e-mails, messages and comments.
  • Save the evidence, such as e-mail and text messages and take screenshots of comments and images. Also, take note of the date and time when the harassment occurs.
  • Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) or cell phone provider. Ask the website administrator or ISP to remove any Web page created to hurt your child.
  • If harassment is via e-mail, social networking sites, IM and chat rooms, instruct your child to "block" bullies or delete your child's current account and open a new one.
  • If harrassment is via text and phone messages, change the phone number and instruct your child to only share the new number with trustworthy people. Also, check out phone features that may allow the number to be blocked.
  • Get your child's school involved. Learn the school's policy on cyberbullying and urge administrators to take a stance against all forms of bullying.
  • Make a report to www.cybertipline.com and if you feel something illegal has occurred, inform law enforcement.

Help children stay safer online

  • Know who your child is communicating with online.
  • Open a family e-mail account to share with younger children.
  • Work with your child to brainstorm screennames and e-mail addresses that do not contain information about gender, identity or location and that avoid being suggestive.
  • Teach your child never to open e-mails from unknown senders and to use settings on IM programs to block messages from people they do not know.
  • Be aware of other ways your child may be going online - with cell phones, laptops or from friends' homes or the library.
  • Tell your child not to share passwords with anyone but you to help avoid identity theft and cyberbullying.
  • Familiarize yourself with popular acronyms at sites like www.netlingo.com and www.noslang.com/.

*All information on this page is courtesy of NetSmartz.org


Last Modified on Friday, January 20, 2017