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Teach your child about internet safety


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Teach your child about internet safety

Before you allow your child to go online without your supervision, make sure you establish a set of rules that you can all agree on.

If you're not sure where to start, here are some ideas on what to discuss with your kids to teach them about using the Internet more safely.

1. Encourage your kids to share their Internet experiences with you. Enjoy the Internet along with your children.

2. Teach your kids to trust their instincts. If they feel nervous about anything online, they should tell you about it.

3. If your kids visit chat rooms, use instant messaging (IM) programs, online video games, or other activities on the Internet that require a login name to identify themselves, help them choose that name and make sure it doesn't reveal any personal information about them.

4. Insist that your kids never give out your address, phone number, or other personal information, including where they go to school or where they like to play.

5. Teach your kids that the difference between right and wrong is the same on the Internet as it is in real life.

6. Show your kids how to respect others online. Make sure they know that rules for good behavior don't change just because they're on a computer.

7. Insist that your kids respect the property of others online. Explain that making illegal copies of other people's work—music, video games, and other programs—is just like stealing it from a store.

8. Tell your kids that they should never meet online friends in person. Explain that online friends may not be who they say they are.

9. Teach your kids that not everything they read or see online is true. Encourage them to ask you if they're not sure.

10. Control your children's online activity with advanced Internet software. Parental controls can help you filter out harmful content, monitor the sites your child visits, and find out what they do there.

11. Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Tell them about the dangers of computer-sex offenders.

12. Review what is on your child's computer. If you don't know how, ask a friend, coworker, relative, or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.

13. Use the Caller ID service to determine who is calling your child. Most telephone companies that offer Caller ID also offer a service that allows you to block your number from appearing on someone else's Caller ID. Telephone companies also offer an additional service feature that rejects incoming calls that you block. This rejection feature prevents computer-sex offenders or anyone else from calling your home anonymously.

14. Devices can be purchased that show telephone numbers that have been dialed from your home phone. Additionally, the last number called from your home phone can be retrieved provided that the telephone is equipped with a redial feature. You will also need a telephone pager to complete this retrieval.

15. Monitor your child's access to all types of live electronic communications (i.e., chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat, etc.), and monitor your child's e-mail. Computer-sex offenders almost always meet potential victims via chat rooms. After meeting a child on-line, they will continue to communicate electronically often via e-mail.

16. Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.

17. Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.

18. Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household.

19. Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.

20. Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.

21. Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms.

22. to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line;

23. to never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or on-line service to people they do not personally know;

24. to never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number;

25. to never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing;

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