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Online Safety

Internet Safety- Guidelines for Parents

Here are a few recommendations from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for talking with your child about online safety NetSmartz411

    • Establish guidelines and rules for using the Internet in your home. Discuss these guidelines with your children.
    • Keep it public. Place the family computer in a common room where you can supervise your child"s online activities.
    • Know what your child likes to do online and ask questions about his/her online activities. Ask your child to show you his/her favorite websites. 
    • Familiarize yourself with the Internet. Know the programs that your children are using and the websites they visit. 
    • Explain to your child that instant messaging is only for real-life friends. Talk to them about never meeting in person with anyone they first "met" online.
    • Know who communicates with your child online. Sit with your child at the computer and have him/her explain the real-life identities of every person on their buddy lists or profiles.
    • Reinforce that people online are not always who they say they are; explain to your children what personal information is (addresses, phone numbers, e-mail) and explain how risky it can be to give out personal information online. 
    • If your child has a profile or blog on a social networking site, ask him or her to show it to you. 
    • Talk with your child about posting photographs online. Often photos contain information that reveals where children go to school, who their friends are, the names of clubs or teams they belong to, or where they live. 
    • Help your child understand that when something is posted online, it becomes public information. Other people can view what is posted on the page, copy and paste it, and put it in a more public forum online or through e-mail or IM. 
    • Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Sometimes children do and/or see things that they shouldn"t online, but don"t want to tell parents or guardians because they are afraid of losing Internet privileges. Encourage your children to tell a trusted adult if they see something that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused online. Show them how to turn off the monitor and emphasize that it"s not their fault if they see something upsetting. 
    • Talk to children about not responding to offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat, or other communications. Report any such communication to local law enforcement. Do not delete the evidence; turn off the monitor and contact local law enforcement. Also report such instances to the CyberTipline.
    • More resources exist to help parents and guardians talk with their children about online safety at NetSmartz411

Safety Tips for Kids from the FBI

    1. First, remember never to give out personal information such as your name, home address, school name, or telephone number in a chat room or on bulletin boards. Also, never send a picture of yourself to someone you chat with on the computer.
    2. Never write to someone who has made you feel uncomfortable or scared.
    3. Do not meet someone from the Internet.
    4. Tell your parents right away if you read anything on the Internet that makes you feel uncomfortable.
    5. Remember that people online may not be who they say they are. Someone who says that "she" is a "12-year-old girl" could really be an older man.