INTERNET SAFETY TIPS AND LINKS TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN SAFE
1. Keep the computer your children use in a central location (living room, family room, kitchen), always within your sight.
2. Take full use of your Internet service provider's (ISP's) parental control features; call your ISP for help if you need it. Enable filters and parental controls (if available) on frequently visited websites.
3. Use widely available content filters and pop-up blockers, but realize these tools cannot catch all inappropriate content.
4. Monitor or block access to chat rooms or forums in which personal information may be disclosed.
5. Limit access to overly commercial sites or to sites where kid-targeted brands (cereal, candy, toys, etc.) offer "free games" (often thinly cloaked advertising).
6. Talk frankly with your children about what is dangerous about the Internet, when they reach an appropriate age (you'll know), and how to avoid bad places. Explain the concept of stranger danger on the Internet and that people may not always be who they say they are online.
7. Seek online resources that are appropriate for homework and stick with them. Realize that popular search engines can return provocative results when you least expect them.
8. Spend time with children online. Have them show you what they're learning and where they're going. Show them examples of wholesome and reputable content; warn them not to believe everything they read; explain how to discern fact from opinion.
9. Set limits for time spent online and find ways to make that time more effective.
Help teens and tweens understand that online access is a privilege, like using the car or cell phone, where responsible usage is a must. If you feel your child may be at risk, consider installing "mirroring" software that enables you to view what your kids are doing online from a separate computer.
LINKS TO INTERNET SAFETY SITES: