Part four of the Safely Ever After posts. This particular post is focused on being safe on the internet. This is an issue that is “new” to the world of parenting. My parents probably should have worried and talked to me about internet safety but thankfully I was a pretty good kid that didn’t get into any trouble, however, anyone much older than me didn’t have to worry about it because it has recently just become common for people to have such easy access to the internet.
The opening for this page states “You wouldn’t leave the front door of your home wide open when your children are alone… You wouldn’t allow a stranger in your child’s room and let them carry on a personal, intimate conversation…” and it couldn’t be truer. For some reason, this just really hits home for me and made me realize how dangerous the internet can be for children.
This is something that has really worried me but I know Tyson and I have some time to figure out our rules and guidelines regarding this issue. Some of these tips seem a little outdated, or maybe I am outdated. It just seems that some of these tips really pertain to chat rooms and I don’t know if those are very popular anymore. Maybe I’m just out of the loop and they are still popular. Anyway, these tips are a great start!
Here are Pattie Fitzgerald’s internet safety tips for parents:
- Keep the computer your children use in a central, visible location such as the living room or family room – within your sight, NOT in their bedroom.
- Talk frankly with your kids about what can be unsafe ONLINE. Explain that they wouldn’t engage in personal conversations with people they don’t know in “the real world”, and the same rule applies while using the Internet.
- Set reasonable limits for how much time children can spend online and limit the websites they are allowed to access.
- Use your Internet Service Provider’s parent controls and take advantage of the widely accessible content filters, pop-up blockers, and monitoring resources and software available to parents.
- Learn which websites your children frequent and which websites are popular among kids and teens. Get familiar with IM/text slang: POS – Parent over shoulder, P911 – parent alert, LOL – laughing out loud, BBL – be back later, CUOL—see you online, GFN – gone for now, A/S/L – age, sex, location, CTY – see you tomorrow, F2F – face to face, LMIRL – let’s meet in real life, WTGP – want to go private? (just to name a few!)
- Talk to children about what personal information is and why you should never give it to people online. It’s more than just name, address, or phone number!
- 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.
- Explain to children that people aren’t always who they say they are online. Remind them not to believe everything they read. Be sure to tell your kids they should never carry on sexual discussions online with anyone, especially people they don’t know.
- Find out where your child has Internet access… schools, libraries, community centers, friends’ homes. Whenever possible, ask what kind of safety measurements are in place to protect children.
- Check your Internet browser’s history regularly to be sure there are no dangerous or inappropriate sites being visited.
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has a system for identifying AND reporting online predators and child pornographers and contributing to law-enforcement investigations. Report anything questionable too: www.cybertipline.com.
- To learn more about internet safety for you and your family, visit these educational sites:
There are some specific tips for kids regarding the internet.
- I am Special and I have the RIGHT to be SAFE ONLINE!
- I will not give out any PERSONAL INFORMATION ONLINE such as my name, address or phone number, my school, the area I live in, sports teams I belong to, or places I often hang out at with my friends.
- I will tell my parents right away if anyone online sends me a message that makes me feel scared, uncomfortable or seems “weird”, EVEN if it’s from someone I know.
- I will NEVER AGREE TO MEET anyone in person that I’ve only talked to online. I will check with my parents and if they say it’s okay, then one of them will come with me.
- I will NEVER SEND my picture to anyone online without telling my parents first.
- Sometimes people aren’t always who they say they are online… I will always tell my parents immediately if someone I don’t know emails me, I.M.’s me, or contacts me online in any way.
- I will not give out my Internet Password to anyone except my parents. *Not even to my best friends!
- I WILL NOT DOWNLOAD ANYTHING without checking with my parents first.
- I will not open emails or attachments from people I don’t know.
- I WILL ABIDE BY THE INTERNET AND COMPUTER RULES that my parents have set up for me; such as how much time I can spend on the computer and which websites or chat rooms I am allowed to access.
- The Internet can offer many fun and helpful resources for kids and I agree to conduct myself in a safe and appropriate manner online at all times. I will follow all NETIQUETTE RULES and be smart, safe cyber citizen.