Is your child online? At home? At a friend's house? At school?
Does he or she know how to use the Internet safely?
Do you know how to teach your child safe use?
Internet Use at Home
Parents can maximize their children's safety by being involved in their online activities. There are many good sources of information for parents to use to develop their own rules.
Suggestions for Home Use of the Internet
- Select sites in advance and explore them together with your children - especially with younger children. Lists of great sites are available from your local library and possibly at your schools.
- Bring online services offline. Download the contents of sites of which you approve. Your children can safely explore them offline, without the risk of linking to inappropriate material.
Know the options - such as types of parental controls that are offered by your service provider (the company through which you have Internet access).
- Consider using filtering software to block inappropriate sites, chat rooms and content.
- Consider using software which blocks transmission of personal information such as name, address, phone number.
- Consider limiting the total amount of time children may use the Internet, or limiting specific hours, such as late-night hours.
- Locate the computer in a public space of the home such as the living room or kitchen - not in a child's bedroom. If you are not sitting with your child, occasionally monitor their use.
Suggestions for Family Policies About Safe Use of the Internet
To get started, consider the following suggestions:
- When parents are not directly supervising their Internet use children should understand:
- Never provide personal information while in a chat room, to a bulletin board or when you are otherwise in communication with someone not actually known to you. This information includes your online password, full name, address and phone number and even where you go to school.
- Never send photos of yourself, family or friends to someone you do not actually know.
- Never plan to physically meet an online acquaintance without your parents permission. If parents agree, arrange to meet in a public place with your parents present.
- If you stumble into a web site with uncomfortable or inappropriate material, you can and should stop immediately. Use the Stop button to discontinue downloading and then the Back button to return to the previous screen, thus immediately removing the distressing material from your screen. If you unintentionally get into an inappropriate site, do not continue further into the site. Write down the site address and to tell your parents so they can notify your Internet Service Provider.
- If you receive inappropriate e-mail or other information, tell your parents and report it to your service provider.
- Make decisions about creating a family web site thoughtfully. Consider whether you want to put family and personal information onto the web. Some experts recommend creating a web page that can be e-mailed to the family and friends you choose.
Child Safety on the Internet (.pdf format)
Above information was provide by
The Mental Health Association of Westchester
For more information or questions please contact:
Barbara Bernstein at 914-345-0700, extension 210
Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org