Parents’ guide to safe surfing
Suggested rules for children’s internet browsing:
- Keep passwords, pictures and secrets to yourself.
- Remind your children never to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they first met online.
- Teach your children not to post anything on the Internet that they would not want others to see.
- Help them remember that people they meet online are not always who they say they are.
- Let your children know that they should not say anything online that they would not say in public.
- Tell them not to respond to messages that are inappropriate or make them feel uncomfortable in any way.
- Encourage your children to come to you if they encounter a problem online.
What should your child do about a cyberbully?
- Never reply to anyone in anger.
- Stop, block and tell – do not reply, block the sender, tell someone.
- Save the message and show a trusted adult.
- Be a friend — if you know of someone who is being cyberbullied, let your parent know.
- Parents should consider reporting the cyberbullying to local law enforcement authorities.
Signs your child might be “at risk” online:
- Your child spends large amounts of time online, especially at night.
- You find pornography on your child’s computer.
- Your child receives phone calls from adults who you do not know or your child makes calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you do not recognize.
- Your child receives mail, gifts or packages from someone you do not know.
- Your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
- Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.
- Your child is using an online account belonging to someone else.
Minimize chances of online predator victimizing your child:
- Understand that if your child comes into contact with an online predator, it is not the child’s fault. The child is the victim.
- Talk to your child about sexual victimization and the potential of online danger.
- Spend time with your children online. Have them teach you about the Internet.
- Keep the computer in a common room of the house, not in your child’s bedroom.
- Utilize parental controls available from your service provider or use blocking software.
- Always maintain access to your child’s online account and monitor email.
- Teach your children the responsible use of the online resources.
- Find out the computer safeguards being utilized at your child’s school, the public library and at the home of your child’s friends.
- Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online.
- Never automatically assume that what they are told online is the truth.
For more information about online safety for children and teens, please visit our internet safety webpage.