The internet can be a valuable resource to students - with a wealth of information, interactive games and fun sites to explore. Kids however, don’t understand the dangers that lurk online. From advertisements or websites that can steal your personal information, to inappropriate material, to online predators – parents must be vigilant to keep children safe.
We encourage you to talk openly to your child, but in age appropriate terms about internet safety. And most important – BE INVOLVED with their computer use!
Top 10 tips for Parents:
1. Set rules about which websites your kids can visit and what to do if they come across inappropriate material. Set up an online folder with an approved set of websites that your child is allowed to go to anytime.
2. Talk to your child about the importance of not sharing personal information over the internet. This includes last name, city they live, school they attend, where parents work, and any phone numbers or addresses. Kids need to understand that online predators will go to great lengths to gain their trust, including pretending to be a child or teen themselves to befriend them.
3. Stay involved with your child’s computer & internet use! It is important to know what your kids see or hear online. Be aware of who they meet and what they share about themselves or your family.
4. When creating a screen name or email address, do not let kids include personal information like last name or date of birth. For example, instead of: “johnsmith99,” use “sk8terchamp1”
5. Keep your computer in a common area of the house where you can watch and monitor its use. Set rules for internet use when parents aren’t home.
6. Be present or help if your child is trying to do an internet search such as Google. Remember - one missed keystroke or a simple misspelled word, can change the word or its meaning and bring up a host of inappropriate websites.
7. Talk to your kids about malware and the dangers of clicking on an advertisement, email or link from someone they don’t know. Teach your kids to not download anything from the internet without permission so you can make sure it’s from a trusted source.
8. Prohibit your child from going into private chat rooms. Understand that posting a message in a chat room may reveal the user’s email address.
9. Tell your child NEVER agree to get together in person with someone they have ‘met’ online without talking to a parent first.
10. Cyberbullying is real – listen and respond to your child if he/she complains about being harassed and take the complaint seriously.
Available options to help monitor your computer:
- Safety features provided by your Internet Service Provider to block your child from entering private chat rooms.
- Time-limiting software so kids can only go online when parents are home.
- Monitoring software that tracks what sites kids have visited.
- Filtering software that blocks websites that you deem inappropriate.
* NOTE: Even with software installed on your computer to help monitor or prevent questionable sites, it is a parent’s responsibility to guard against inappropriate sites and know who your child is corresponding with online.