Parents' Guide To The Internet
1. Have your children ask for permission before they log on! Read the internet safety tips together with your children. Ask them what they are doing on-line. Make sure your children only use the Internet with your permission, and only for the time you allow them to use it.
2. Ask your children to spend time with you while online. You might want to create some guidelines such as time and the places to go in the World Wide Web. Show them your favorite places in the internet. Tell them about the people you meet on-line, and the things you talk about. Let them know of your buddies and their traditions. Get them involved in your on-line activities!
3. Have them post your family's e-mail address even if they have one of their own! It's neat for them to have their own e-mail address but it is always a good idea to post your family's address, and then provide their own address after you are absolutely sure that the sender is trustworthy.
4. Make sure your children do NOT give out your home address, work address, or school information. This also holds true for telephone numbers. If they are entering a contest, or registering to enter new site, have them get your permission first! Review the site, and discuss the reason why they would want to give out your address. If you have a PO Box, use that as your address! If your children want to become "snail mail" pals with someone, have them talk to you about it first and get permission to give out your address.
5. You should make sure they do NOT use your real last name while they are on-line, especially if it is unusual. A better idea is to use a middle name as a last name, or have fun and make one up!
6. Make sure they never agree to meet anyone, anywhere without talking to you about it. People may not be who they say they are! If you decide to let your children meet with someone that they have met on-line, go with them and meet in a public place (where there is a lot of other people around)!
7. Tell them to never give out their password to anyone for any reason! The ONLY people that NEED to know it, already have it, no matter what they tell you!
8. Make sure they don't reply to any e-mail messages if they are offensive, strange, mean or upsetting.
Have them show the message immediately to you so that you may take the proper action or advise them on what to do. This is usually the best solution. Don't let them get discouraged if they receive messages that make them uncomfortable. Most of all ask them Not to imitate those kids that write rude messages.
9. Make sure that they don't send scanned pictures of themselves or your family to anyone unless they have your approval.
10. Tell your children to stop right away if they see or read something on a website that is upsetting or offensive. Let them know that some sites are not meant for children and they might have accidentally reached that site through a hyperlink. Have them talk to you or teacher about it.
A Parent's Guide to the Information Superhighway, a 36-page booklet by the non-profit Children's Partnership, is a step-by-step guide to parenting in the online age. It can be printed online.