Internet Safety Tips to Implement First, you should make sure that your home computer is in a common area and not in your child’s bedroom. You should supervise your child’s computer activities: websites visited, chatrooms, instant messages. Advise your child to NEVER give out their: age, name, address, phone number. They should also not give out their parents names or workplaces, the name of their school or any passwords. Most importantly, you should advise your child NEVER to send a picture of themself to anyone. Finally, your child should be warned NEVER to agree to telephone anyone or meet anyone in person.
Signs Your Child May Be At Risk – the following are signs of a potential risk regarding your child’s safety on the internet. 1) Your child spends large amounts of time online advising you it is homework; 2) Your child receives lots of calls from people you don’t know; 3) Your child becomes uneasy when you enter the room or quickly changes the computer screen; 4) Your child receives mail, gifts, or packages from people you don’t know; and finally, 5) Your child has a free website email address that can be accessed from any computer without your knowledge.
Implement Parental Controls – Never let your child have their “own” password – you must be able to check their emails and email address book. Review your recycle bin. Review the document file. Review your “history” file to find out what sites your child has visited. Perform a “find” function on your computer to locate *.jpg or image files, *mpg or movie clips and *avi or movie clips. Review your child’s diskettes – they may not be “games”. Check for hidden diskettes because subjects send images of themselves or pornography and tell children to save the images to diskettes and hide them.
Safeguards to Implement – Talk openly to your child. Set rules with your child for computer use. Limit access to the computer only when you or the other parent is home. There are some commercial online services that offer “parental control features” to block areas you feel are inappropriate for your child. Know your child’s “internet friends” as you know their other friends. Make sure that your child’s school has supervised Internet Services and an acceptable use policy.