Internet Safety

What parents and the community should know

Risks and Warning Signs

The Internet has drastically changed the way that children interact with the world. They have access to in-depth knowledge, tools to express their creativity, and people from all over the world. Yet along with offering a fascinating, new way to connect with the world, the Internet also offers new risks

· Cyberbullying

· Exposure to inappropriate material

· Online predators

· Revealing too much personal information

Learning to recognize the warning signs of these risks will allow trusted adults to intervene and lessen potential negative impacts. By acting as a resource, parents and guardians can help make the Internet a safer place for their families. As a parent or guardian, you should stay well-informed about current issues to understand what your children are experiencing on and off the Internet. If they are social networking, instant messaging, using webcams, or blogging, help them use these tools safely by learning how to use them yourself. Children whose parents and guardians regularly talk to them about personal safety are more likely to exhibit responsible behavior on their own.

Basic Tips

Children use a variety of online services, and each of these services can have different safety concerns. However, there are some basic tips which you can employ no matter how your children use the Internet.

· Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.

· Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.

· Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, and make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.

· Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.

· Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.

· Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.

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Start a Discussion with Your Child

· What are your favorite things to do online?

· What is personal information? Why should you keep it private?

· What could you do to be safer online?

· What would you do if anyone online asked to meet you face-to-face?

· Besides me, who do you feel that you can talk to if you are in a scary or uncomfortable situation?