INTERNET SAFETY
 
     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 users.

How To 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 doing.

  • 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 off-limits.

  • 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 while online.

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 wrong "web-friends".

  • Decide  whether  you  want  personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information revealed. 

    BE CAREFUL OF THE INFORMATION YOU REVEAL IN THE PROFILES!
     

  • 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 HERE.

  • 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 assistance.

  • Remember that people online may NOT be who they say they are.

  • 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:

Exposure To Inappropriate Material

   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.

Physical Molestation

   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.

Harassment

   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 Web.

  • 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 the lesson.

  • 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.

For more information on Internet Safety CLICK HERE  to view the FBI's Internet Safety website.
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Humble ISD Police
1703 Wilson Road
Building "E"
Humble, Texas 77338
Telephone: 281-641-7900 Fax:
281-446-4044
Police Chief: Solomon Cook