A PARENTS GUIDE
The Internet has opened up a world of information for anyone with a computer and a connection! Your children will learn about computers. But just as you wouldn't send your children near a busy road without some rules, you shouldn't send them on to the information superhighway without the rules of the road. Too many dangers from pedophiles to con artists can reach children (and adults) through the Internet.
- Explain that although a person may be alone in a room using the computer, once logged on to the Internet, he or she is no longer alone. People skilled in using the Internet can find out who you are and where you are. They can even tap into information in your computers.
- Set aside time to explore the Internet together. If your child has some computer experience, let him or her take the lead. Visit areas of the World Wide Web that have special sites for children.
- The best tool a child has for screening material found on the Internet is his or her brain. Teach children about exploitation, pornography, hate literature, excessive violence, and other issues that concern you, so they know how to respond when they see this material.
- Chose a commercial online service that offers parental control features. These features can block contact that is not clearly marked as appropriate for children; chat rooms, bulletin boards, news groups, and discussion groups; or access to the Internet entirely.
- Purchase blocking software and design your own safety system. Different packages can block sites by name, search for unacceptable words and block access to sites containing those words, block entire categories of material, and prevent children from giving out personal information.
- Monitor your children when they're online and monitor the time they spend online. If a child becomes uneasy or defensive when you walk into the room or when you linger, this could be a sign that he or she is up to something unusual or even forbidden.
Tell Your Children
- To always let you know immediately if they find something scary or threatening on the Internet.
- Never to give out their name, address, telephone number, password, school name, parent's name, or any other personal information.
- NEVER agree to meet face to face with someone they've met online.
- Never respond to messages that have bad words or seem scary or just weird.
- Never enter an area that charges for service without asking first.
- Never send a picture of himself or herself to anyone without permission.
- If your child receives threatening e-mail or pornographic material, save the offensive material and contact the user's Internet Service Provider (ISP) and your local law enforcement agency.
Internet crime is not just limited to the young. It can strike anyone at any time. The limits of the crimes are only the limits of the imagination of the criminal and his ability to use the computer.
Some Internet resources are:
Some Internet filtering product information:
There are many other resources and software available to use. The above is just a brief example of what's available.