Internet Safety Information
Resources for a Safe & Positive Internet Experience
The potential of the Internet is unlimited. The biggest danger is that people will concentrate on potential dangers and forget the benefits. This is not to downplay risks, but a balanced approach is the most appropriate. Communication with children is the most important resource for safety when using technology. The following will help ensure a safe Internet experience for your children:
- Enable logging with administrator account on home computer.
- Do not give administrator password to children.
- Turn on logs and safety features of Yahoo, Google, other search engines, and online services such as AOL.
- Consider Internet monitoring and filtering software.
- Consider placing student’s computer in a common area not in the bedroom.
The most important rule of thumb when children use online resources is to recognize that you are in a public forum. Interactions on the internet are happening in the public view and anyone can read what you type. You should not type anything you would not want known to everyone in the world. You should also remember that people you meet in Cyberspace might not be who they claim. Below are some guidelines for children using the Internet:
- Keep your identity private: If you are in any type of public forum, do not give out your full name, mailing address, telephone number, school name, or any other information that could help determine your identity. This applies to all members of your family and friends. Never reveal information about others.
- Be sure your child’s screen name or user name has no connection to their real name or their email address.
- Never get together with someone you “meet” online. Talk to your children about this and have them discuss with you any possible cases where they think it is appropriate to meet someone from Cyberspace.
- Never respond to e-mail, chat comments, or newsgroup messages that are hostile, belligerent, inappropriate, or in any way make you feel uncomfortable: If you feel there is a threat, contact your Internet Service Provider and/or the local law enforcement. Sending a response encourages further communication.
- Talk with your children about YOUR expectations and ground rules for going online. This discussion should include when children can go online, how long they can stay online, and what activities are allowed.
- Tell your children they can always come to you or another trusted adult including their teacher when they encounter anything on the Internet that makes them uncomfortable, not matter the circumstances. When children think they will be punished for visiting an inappropriate site, they may be unlikely to say anything about it. Parents may never know of incidents.
- Talk to children about the dangers of online chat rooms especially those not moderated by an adult or service provider. It is impossible to know the real identity of anyone in chat room.
- Discuss copyright issues with children: Be sure children understand that downloading music, books, articles, or quotations without permission or citing the source is a violation of the law.
- Discuss when and how cell phones should be used: New cell phones can transmit images, e-mail, and connect to the Internet. The same guidelines should be discussed for cell phone use as for the computer.
The following are some “red flags” which may indicate inappropriate behavior by children while online:
- The child changes or minimizes the screen when others are near. This may indicate they are trying to hide activity. Ask to see the screen or use ctrl-H to view history.
- The child is suddenly spending more time online, especially at night.
- The child receives phone calls from unknown or new persons.
- The child has new clothes, other items, or money without explanation.
- The child is unusually upset if Internet access is eliminated or curtailed for any length of time.
- The child becomes isolated from family and friends. This may be a signal the child is being groomed by a stalker.
All computers should be equipped with the following:
- Filtering or Proxy (see resources below)