Again, this is from the Enough is Enough organization. Their website, http://www.internetsafety101.org/
has lots of free tips and info on it for teachers, parents, and anyone else who is concerned about protecting kids on line!
As technology continues to evolve, it is easy to feel left behind. Follow these nontechnical measures to help you become a cyber-savvy, virtual parent.
Rule 1 ►Establish an ongoing dialogue and keep lines of communication open: Spend time online alongside your children and create an atmosphere of trust. Encourage your children to make good choices and temper your reactions when they run into dangers.
Teens whose parents have talked to them “a lot” about online safety are less likely to consider meeting face-to-face with someone they met on the Internet (12% vs. 20%).1
Rule 2 ►Supervise use of all Internet-enabled devices: Keep your child’s computer in an open area of your home. Monitor other points of Internet access including your child’s cell phone, portable music device, gaming device, and PDA.
Rule 3 ►Know your child’s online activities and friends: Be familiar with each of your children’s passwords, screen names, and all account information, and have them provide the identities of every person on their buddy list or anyone they have “friended” on social networking or gaming sites. Caution your children to only communicate online with people they know in-person and who have been approved by you. Remind your children that the people they meet online may not be who they say they are.
Almost 1 in 8 teens discovered that someone they were communicating with online was an adult pretending to be much younger.2
Rule 4 ►Regularly check the online communities your children use, such as social networking and gaming sites, to see what information they are posting: Make sure you, as the parent, are added to your child’s “friend list,” because if their profiles are set to private (as they should be!), you will not be able to view any of their information. If you are unsure whether your child has a profile, conduct a simple online search through the site or by typing their name into a search engine (e.g., Google). Be aware of not only what your children are posting, but what other kids are posting about your children. Before allowing children to use social networking sites, EIE encourages parents to familiarize themselves with the content on the site and thoroughly review the safety practices and privacy tools available through that social networking site.
Rule 5 ►Supervise the photos and videos your kids post and send online: Photos and videos can be uploaded instantly to sites like YouTube and Facebook from any platform with Internet access including your child’s cell phone, webcam, PDA, and gaming device. These images may make your child vulnerable to online predators, cyberbullies, and strangers, or lead to damaged reputations.
Check with your child’s school to ensure that any projects, art, or photos placed on the school website are only accessible by password (or through the school’s intranet) and do not contain any personally identifiable information. Younger children should not post photos or videos.
4% of all youth Internet users in 2005 said online solicitors asked them for nude or sexually explicit photographs of themselves.3
Rule 6 ►Discourage the use of webcams and mobile video devices: Most computers now come with built-in webcam devices, but webcams should only be used under close parental supervision or not at all. Videos should only be sent to trusted friends and family. Never allow a webcam to be used by your child in his or her bedroom or other private areas.
Rule 7 ►Teach your children how to protect personal information posted online and to follow the same rules with respect to the personal information of others: Remind your children to think before they post: there are no take-backs online. Nothing is truly private on the Internet; any and all information sent or posted online is public or canbe made public.
Caution your children about posting:
Personal or Contact Information: Your child’s full name, address, phone number, passwords, and financial information should only be provided on a secure site and under parental supervision.
Intimate personal information: Private, personal, and sensitive information (such as a teen’s journal) should not be posted and should only be shared in private e-mails with a trusted personal friend.4
Reputation-damaging information or images: Inappropriate pictures (i.e., content that is explicit, suggestive, illegal, etc.), should never be posted or sent.5
Event Information: Teach children to use caution when posting information about parties, events, or activities where someone could track them down.
Teens whose parents have talked to them “a lot” about Internet safety are more concerned about the risks of sharing personal information online. For instance, 65% of teens whose parents have not talked to them about online safety post information about where they live compared to 48% of teens with more involved parents.6
►Be sure your children use privacy settings: Privacy settings limit who can view your teen’s profiles. On most social networking and gaming websites, your teen can change his or her privacy setting by clicking on “account settings.” Ask your teens to show you the account settings or, if you have access to your teen’s account, you can check their settings for yourself. Remember that no one can detect a disguised predator, and even using these settings does not always achieve true privacy: all of your child’s friends have access to and could distribute any material included on their profile.
47% of teens have an Internet profile that is public and viewable by anyone.7
►Instruct your children to avoid meeting face-to-face with someone they only know online or through their mobile device: Online ‘friends’ may not be who they say they are. Children should be advisedto come to you if anyone makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, confused, asks for any personal orpersonally identifiable information, or suggests meeting them.
16% of teens say they’ve considered meeting face-to-face with someone they’ve talked to only online, and 8% of teens say they have actually met in-person with someone from the Internet.8
►Teach your children how to respond to cyberbullies: Children do not have to accept any online activity meant to intimidate, threaten, tease, or harm them or anyone else.
Watch out for warning signs, including reluctance to go to school and reluctance to use the Internet; be aware of a change in your child’s behavior and mood. Report any offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat, or other communications to local law enforcement. Do not delete the evidence. Remind your child of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you“.
Overall, 19% of teens report they have been harassed or bullied online, and the incidence of online harassment is higher (23%) among 16- and 17-year-olds. Girls are more likely to be harassed or bullied than boys (21% vs. 17%).9
►Establish an agreement with your children about Internet use at home and outside of the home (see Rules ‘N Tools® Youth Pledge): Remind them that rules for good behavior don’t change just because they’re on a computer. Post the agreement near thecomputer. Be willing to sign a parent pledge as well.
1 Cox Communications Teen Internet Safety Survey, Wave II, in Partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, March 2007.
2 Internet Safety: Realistic Strategies & Messages for Kids Taking More and More Risks Online. Polly Klass Foundation, 2006.
3 Wolak, Janis; Mitchell, Kimberly; Finkelhor, David: Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. Alexandria, Virginia: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2006.
4 Willard, Nancy E. Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens. Jossey-Bass, 2007.
6 Cox Communications Teen Internet Safety Survey.
7 Willard, Nancy E. Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens. Jossey-Bass, 2007.
8 Cox Communications Teen Internet Safety Survey.