- Keep your computer in a central and accessible location in your home
and be aware of other computers your children may be using.
- Use the Internet with your children. Let them show you what they can do
online, visit their favorite sites and maintain a dialogue with them about what
applications they are using.
- Teach your children never to give out personal information (name, address, phone
number, school, hometown) to people they meet online in chat rooms or on bulletin boards.
- Know who your children's online friends are and oversee their chat areas.
- If your children use chat or e-mail, advise them not to meet in person with anyone
they first "met" online. Remind them that not everything they read or see on the Internet
is true. If you feel it is OK for them to meet their online friends, insist they bring
you or trusted friends along and meet in a public place.
- Talk to children about not responding to offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat or other
communications. Do not delete the offensive or dangerous e-mail; turn off the monitor,
and contact local law enforcement.
- Talk to children about what to do if they see something that makes them feel scared,
uncomfortable or confused. Show them how to turn off the monitor and emphasize that it's
not their fault if they see something upsetting. Remind children to tell a trusted adult
if they see something that bothers them.
- If you suspect online "stalking" or sexual exploitation of a child, report it to your local
law-enforcement agency. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has a system
(CyberTipline.com) for identifying online predators and child pornographers.
- Internet accounts should be in the parent's name with parents having the primary screen name,
controlling passwords, and using blocking and/or filtering devices.
- Implement parental-control tools that are provided by some Internet service providers and available
for purchase as separate software packages. Remember: No program is a substitute for parental supervision.
- You may be able to set some parental controls within your browser. Internet Explorer allows you to
restrict or allow certain Web sites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings
with a password. To find those options, click "Tools" on your menu bar, select "Internet Options,"
choose the "Content" tab, and click the "Enable" button under "Content Advisor."
- Don't give out information about yourself like your last name, phone number, address or school — without asking your parents first.
- Never e-mail a picture of yourself to strangers.
- Be suspicious of those who want to know too much. There's no rule that says you have to tell them where you live or anything else personal. Trust your instincts. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, leave.
- Avoid chat rooms or discussion areas that look sketchy or provocative, and don't let people online trick you into thinking of them as real-life friends if you've never met them in person.
- Listen to your instincts! If somebody says something to you that makes you uncomfortable, or if somebody sends you something or you see something that makes you uncomfortable, don't look around or explore: Get your parents instead — they know what to do.
- Making plans to meet your Internet buddies in real life is usually a bad idea. If you decide to do it anyway, have your parents help make the plans and go with you.
- Don't open up e-mails, files or Web pages that you get from people you don't know or trust. The same goes for links or URLs that look suspicious — don't click on them.
- Don't give out your password, except to responsible adults in your family.
- Be honest about your age. Membership rules are there to protect people. If you are too young to sign up, do not attempt to lie about your age. Talk with your parents about alternative sites that may be appropriate for you.