Safety Tips for Parents to Help Kids

Knowing how to talk to your children about the possible dangers of the Internet is important to your child’s safety.  Here are some tips on how to keep your children safe while online.

Open Communication

Talk to your child about what they enjoy doing online.  Use real examples  of situations that children have gotten into using the Internet.

Rules

Discuss with your children what your family’s computer rules are, post them near the computer as a reminder to everyone.   Below is a suggestion of rules you may want to consider for your family.

  • Personal Information: Never give your full name, address, phone number or school name to anyone online until you have asked your parents.  Never give away your passwords to anyone but your parents (not even your best friends).
  • Open Communication:  Always tell your parents if you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared.  Do not respond to anything  online that you believe is wrong or makes you feel uncomfortable,  just tell your parents.
  • Sharing: Never send someone your picture or anything else, unless your parents say it is ok.  Never accept anything online, in the mail, or in person, from anyone you have met online.
  • Meeting:  Never meet someone in person that you met online unless your parents say it is ok and they go with you to meet them.
  • Family Rules:  Your family should talk about specific rules for going online. Decide how much time you spend online, sites you can visit and time of day you can be online.  Also, decide where the computer will be located in the home.

Control Internet Access

Consider storing the modem or router in an area that you have easy access to, but that your children do not.  This will allow you to limit internet access at night when adequate supervision can be difficult.  

Social Networking

Social networking sites (Myspace, Facebook etc) should generally only be used by teens and not pre-teens.  For teenagers who have their own social networking pages parents should be able to see their profiles and monitor them as needed. 

A new booklet and online resource regarding Facebook use is now available.  The booklet provides step-by-step instructions and tips for parents to help keep kids safe while on Facebook and/or while using their cell phone. (Click here to download PDF)

Separate Accounts

Set different computer accounts for each family member and set parental controls on your child’s account.

Computer Location

Keep the computer in the family room or a high-traffic area in the home.

Monitor Computer Activity

Periodically check your computer’s browser history.  Pay close attention to your child’s recently and or frequently viewed sites.  For step-by-step instructions on how to check the brower history and find out what sites your child is visiting watch this You Tube video.

Get Involved

Spend time with your child on the computer.  Have them show you what sites they like to visit.