I

nternet Safety

GUIDELINES FOR GUARDIANS

  • Place the computer in a common area of the residence rather than a bedroom. This will encourage online time to be a family oriented activity.
  • Become familiar with the people and web sites your children are interacting with on the Internet, just as you would get to know all of their other friends.
  • Choose a family oriented Internet Service Provider or Online Service and use Parental Controls or software to regulate the type of information and material your children can access on the Internet. Most of the Parental Controls and software allow adults to restrict access to age appropriate levels. In the event the children do receive objectionable material, teach them to avoid responding to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening or makes them feel uncomfortable. Make sure they are comfortable in making you aware of these types of messages. Immediately notify your Internet Service Provider of the receipt of such material.
  • Try to select non-descriptive Account Names and Screen Names for your children. Their online names should not be too specific or identify or describe them in detail.
  • Remind your children not to provide their real name, phone number, address, or other personal information to anyone to whom they meet online, and never to meet face to face with anyone they have met through the Internet without your permission. If you do permit such a meeting, it should be in a public place and you or another responsible adult should accompany your child.
  • Set reasonable guidelines for your children's time online and remember that the computer should not be thought of as a "babysitter". The guidelines should be age appropriate. Remember, what is acceptable for a teenager may not be acceptable for a younger child.
  • Remind your children that the rules are the same for any computer they use, whether at home, a friend's house, school, or the public library.
  • Assure your children that they can talk with you about things that happen on the Internet. If they fear that they will lose their Internet access, they may be reluctant to talk about anything bad that happened on the Internet.

GUIDELINES FOR TEENAGERS

Never give out your personal information, your real name, address, or phone number, or any personal information about your family or friends without their permission. Be careful in chat rooms. Don't get involved in fights or use obscene language. You could be reported and have your Internet service suspended or cancelled. If you are in a chat room and someone makes you feel uncomfortable, attempts to start a fight with you, or uses offensive language, leave the room. Ignore obscene or offensive messages. Replying may cause the sender to continue to send such messages. Be careful in joining mailing lists, some may make your personal information public. Don't provide an address or phone number; the information for which you are signing up is sent to the e-mail address you provide, so they don't need your address or phone number. Beware of offers for free items, get rich quick, or weight loss offers. They may be a scam. Beware of e-mail from people you don't know or e-mail you weren't expecting. It may contain a virus designed to damage your computer or send your account name and password back to the sender. Never send your picture to someone you don't know or trust. Remember, the Internet allows people to become anyone they want to be, and they may be someone you don't really want to know.

GUIDELINES FOR CHILDREN (10 years old and younger)

Never give your name, address or phone number to anyone on the Internet. Do not go into chat rooms without your parent's help. If you get a message that makes you feel uncomfortable, don't respond to it, and be sure to tell your parents. Don't join a mailing list without your parent's permission. Don't open e-mail from anyone you don't know. It might be a virus which could damage your computer. Don't believe everything people on the Internet tell you. Since you can't see the other person, you don't know who they really are. Never agree to buy or trade anything on the Internet without your parent's permission. Never agree to meet anyone you met on the Internet, and never send pictures of yourself over the Internet.