Internet Safety Tips for Children and Teens
Rules for Parents
As the number of families online grows and grows, so does the potential for children to be exploited via the Internet. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has provided the following rules for parents:
- Children should never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance it is pornography.
- Children should never upload pictures of themselves to people that they do not know personally. They could be uploading to a pedophile.
- Do not make the mistake of using the computer as a baby sitter.
- If you become suspicious that your child is misusing the computer, discuss your concerns with the child and, if warranted, consider examining the hard drive for inappropriate material.
- Instruct children that whenever they communicate online they should never give out identifying information, such as phone numbers, addresses, last names, Social Security numbers or names of the school they attend.
- Instruct your child never to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they have met on the Internet.
- Learn the services provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Online Service, so that you know how it works. Determine whether the system allows you to block your child from accessing certain areas, such as chat rooms, and take advantage of those types of services.
- Make using the Internet a group or family activity in which all members of the household can participate.
- Monitor the times of day that a child has access to the Internet or online services and the duration of his/her online session. Excessive time online, especially during the evening or late-night hours, may be indicative of a problem.
- Never allow children (including teenagers) to have unsupervised access to the Internet. Keep the computer in a public area of the home, never in a child's bedroom. Make it a habit to periodically, and without warning, observe what they are doing on the Internet.
- Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.
- Remind children that whatever they are told online may or may not be true. A person who states that she is a 12-year-old girl may, in fact, be a 50-year-old man.