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Internet Safety @ Ruth Enlow Library

Internet Safety Tips for Families

While the Internet may be accessed from the privacy of one's home, in reality it is an extremely public place and should therefore be given the same consideration as a busy city intersection. These tips provide strategies for helping children use the Internet safely and responsibly.

Internet Safety Tips for Parents

  1. Keep the Internet computer in an area of your home that is public and busy. Often the kitchen is just such a place. Put the computer where you will be able to keep an eye on it at all times. Never put it in your child's bedroom.

  2. Be or become technologically savvy. But if you are not yet, pay attention to, be interested in, and ask questions about what your child is doing. Also learn to recognize common chat-room lingo.

  3. Set rules about what your child is allowed to access online, how often and for how long. Post the rules next to the computer. Talk with your child about your rules. Have consequences for broken rules.

  4. Talk with your child about what s/he does online and ask to see his or her profile. Make sure that your child's Internet profile does not have any identifying details, provocative photos, or comments indicating that the child is seeking attention. Remember that information on the Internet can live a very long time and be seen by anyone. If you would not want that creepy person on the bus, your child's future college admissions officers, or future employers to see it, then your child should not post it.

  5. Know your child's passwords and screen names. Instruct children to give passwords only to people that they know and trust.

  6. Make sure that your child feels comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns. Do not overreact or blame!

  7. Do not store your credit card information on your computer where children have access to it.

  8. Use parental controls provided by your Internet service provider, your browser, and search engines. Realize that these may be insufficient. Personal involvement is the ultimate parental control. Also, find out what computer safeguards are utilized at your child's school, and at the homes of his or her friends.

  9. Emphasize the importance of having a balance of interests and activities. Encourage and model desired behavior such as reading, playing out of doors, and socializing with friends face to face.

  10. Realize that the ways in which a child uses the Internet and other computer technologies will change with the age of the child. So that concerns appropriate for a six year old are not necessarily appropriate for a child of twelve.

Internet Safety Tips for Kids

  1. Don't give out personal or identifying information about (yourself, your family members or your friends). Such information would include:
    - full names
    - email addresses or passwords
    - addresses
    - phone numbers home or cell
    - school or sports teams
    - links to Web sites with such information about you or people that you know

  2. Don't share pictures of yourself. If you do, use photo software to turn them into sketches or otherwise disguise them so that others cannot misuse them.

  3. Think of the Internet as a permanent billboard, and remember that the whole world may be watching. If you wouldn't want that creepy person on the bus, your parents, family, or teachers to see it, don't post it. Stuff on the Internet can live a very long time and may be seen by anyone.

  4. Go with your gut. If a Web site or person gives you an uneasy feeling, then leave it or them, tell your parents about it or them, and block the site or person.

  5. Keep your passwords secret.

  6. Don't trust just anyone. Pick a secret code word to use with friends.

  7. Realize that when IMing you might be communicating with more people than you are aware.

  8. Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you meet online.

  9. Do not respond to any message that is mean or makes you feel uncomfortable. Tell your parents if you do get any improper messages.

  10. Pick a safe username that doesn't say too much about you and is not easy to guess. Make sure that it contains a mix of letters, numbers, and if possible, symbols.

Internet Safety Web sites

Following are several Web sites that can help parents and children navigate the Internet more safely.

  • The American Library Association has compiled a list of Web links for children and parents. Included are links to kid-friendly search engines and Web sites concerning online safety and privacy.

  • Developed by Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations, GetNetWise provides resources enabling people to be better informed Internet users.

  • Looking to dicipher a chat conversation?  ComputerUser High-Tech Dictionary has compiled a dictionary of commonly used chat abbreviations and emoticons.

Ask Us

If you have any questions about using library computers please speak with the librarian on duty or contact your local branch.