Consumer Protection

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  • Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.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.

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