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Clear, simple, easy-to-read house rules should be posted on or near the monitor.
Create your own computer rules or print the Internet safety pledge provided by Netsmarz.org.
The pledge can be signed by adults and children and should be periodically reviewed.
- Look into safeguarding programs or options your online service provider might offer.
These may include monitoring or filtering capabilities.
Also make sure that a web site offers a secure connection before giving credit-card
- Web sites for children are not permitted to request personal information without
a parent's permission. Talk to children about what personal information is and why
you should never give it to people online.
- If children use chat or E-mail, talk to them about never meeting in person with
anyone they first "met" online.
- Talk to children about not responding to offensive or dangerous E-mail, chat, or
other communications. Report any such communication to local law enforcement. Do
not delete the offensive or dangerous E-mail; turn off the monitor, and contact local
- Keep the computer in the family room or another open area of your home.
- Have children use child-friendly search engines when completing homework.
- Know who children are exchanging E-mail with and only let them use chat areas when
you can supervise.
- Be aware of any other computers your child may be using.
- Internet accounts should be in the parent's name with parents having the primary
screenname, controlling passwords, and using blocking and/or filtering devices.
- Children should not complete a profile for a service provider and children's screennames
should be nondescript so as not to identify that the user is a child.
- 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 online.
- Consider using filtering or monitoring software for your computer. Filtering products
that use whitelisting, which only allows a child access to a pre-approved list of
sites, are recommended for children in this age group. NetSmartz does not advocate
using filters only; education is a key part of prevention. Visit the resources section
for web sites that provide information on filtering or blocking software.
- 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 for identifying online predators and child pornographers and
contributing to law-enforcement investigations. It's called the CyberTipline®. Leads
forwarded to the site will be acknowledged and shared with the appropriate law-enforcement
agency for investigation.
- For more safety information and activities about Internet safety, visit Netsmartz.org
or visit the “Resources” section of our site for more Internet safety tips and a
free Internet filter.