Exposure to inappropriate materials and
harassment are only a few of the safety issues
parents must be aware of today when they have children using the internet. Child
safety on the internet has become an
ever-increasing problem facing parents, students, teachers
and administrators. Adults have a responsibility to provide our children with access to various types of learning experiences through hands-on experience. Using the internet has and/or will continue to become a very vital part of our children's day-to-day lives.
In providing access to this resource, we must also
provide guidance and guidelines for the various hazards
that can be encountered when using this medium.
Most people who use online services have mainly positive
experiences. The online world, like the rest of society, is
made up of a wide array of people. Most are
decent and respectful, but some may be rude, obnoxious,
insulting or even mean and exploitative.
Children and teenagers get a lot of benefit
from being online, but they can also be targets of crime
and exploitation in this as in any other environment.
Trusting, curious and anxious to explore this new world and
the relationships it brings, children and teenagers need
parental supervision and common sense advice on how to be
sure that their experiences in "cyberspace" are happy,
healthy and productive.
As members of this vast new electronic
community, you and your family must ask yourselves how you
will contribute to make it a safer environment for all
Minimize The Risks
The best way to assure that your children are having a positive
online experience is to stay in touch with what they are
Spend time with them when they are online.
Explore the wide range of information that is available and discuss
with them which topics you consider
Keep the lines of communication open so that you can talk to your
children, and they will recognize your interest in what
they are doing is genuine.
Monitor the amount of time your child spends with the computer.
Excessive use of online services, especially late at
night, may signal a potential problem. The same
parenting skills that apply to the "real world" also apply
Guidelines For Parents
Parents who are concerned about their
children's use of electronic resources should provide
guidance to their own children. It is important that you as
a parent assume responsibility for your child's online
computer use, at home, at school, or in the library. Part
of your family rules may be:
Keep the computer in a central location, such as the kitchen or
family room, rather than in a child's bedroom. This way,
everyone in the family has access to it.
NEVER give out identifying information such as home address, school
name, or telephone number. Be very careful about the
SCREEN NAMES you use. The names: SEXYLADY, HONEYCHILD,
BLONDEQTE, are very descriptive and could attract the
Decide whether you want personal information such as age,
marital status, or financial information revealed.
BE CAREFUL OF THE INFORMATION YOU REVEAL IN THE
NEVER allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with
someone via the computer without your approval. If you need an incentive click
Never respond to messages or bulletin board items that are
suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening or make you feel uncomfortable.
Encourage your child to inform you of any such messages
and, if you or your child receive a message that is
harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a
copy to your service provider and ask for their
Remember that people online may NOT be who they say they
Beware of any offers that involve meeting someone..
Remember, everything you read may not be true.
Remember, personal computers and online services should NOT
be used as electronic babysitters..
Make computer use a family activity. Get to know your
child's online friends as well as their other friends..
What Are The Risks?
There are a few risks for children who use online services.
Teenagers are particularly at risk because they use the
computer unsupervised and because they are more likely than
younger children to participate in online
discussions regarding companionship, relationships, or
sexual activity. Some risks are:
One risk is that a child may be exposed to
inappropriate material of a sexual (XXX) or violent nature.
If you or your child become aware of the transmission
of child pornography report it to the
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at
1-800-843-5678. Also contact your internet service provider.
Another risk is that, while online, a
child might provide information or arrange an encounter
that could risk his or her safety or the safety of other
family members. In a few cases, pedophiles have used
online services and bulletin boards to gain a child's
confidence and then arrange a face-to-face meeting.
A third risk is that a child might encounter
E-mail or bulletin board messages that are harassing,
demeaning, or belligerent.
Online Safety Basics
Here are some of
the basics to keep in mind when the children are online.
Use the parental controls available on the commercial online
services. Some services screen public content and
provide online hosts to monitor chat rooms. Also
use filtering software to screen out ADULT sites on the
Consider placing the computer in a "family room" in your home
and make the use of the Internet a family activity.
Check the screen periodically and let your children know
that you are interested in what they are learning online.
Ask your children where they go online, and have them show you. If
your children are more familiar with the Internet than
you are, let them teach you about it, you will both enjoy
Monitor online time. Be aware of excessive hours on the Internet.
Make sure your children are aware of online rules. They should
know NEVER to give out their real name, address
and/or phone number. They should NEVER agree to
meet with someone person to person. Advise your children
that some people on the Internet conceal their true age
and identity. Create a list of online rules and post
them by the computer.
Monitor your modem telephone bill. Adult Bulletin Board Systems
are easy to access by ANY communications software.
Check out any unfamiliar numbers on your bill.
Support and encourage your child's use of the Internet, and
participate in new learning experiences. Acquaint
yourself with their online pals and email habits. Be
aware of correspondence with strangers.
information on Internet Safety
CLICK HERE to view the FBI's Internet Safety
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