· Keep the computer in an open area of your home. Don’t think of the Internet as a babysitter; kids need adult supervision while they are on the Internet.
· Set limits on the computer. (1/2 hour/night, etc.)
· Sit down with your child and visit their favorite websites with them. Keep the lines of communication open.
· Talk to your child about the information they should NEVER share on the Internet (Full Name, Age, City, School, etc.)
· Talk to children about refusing requests or communication from strangers. Internet Predators love to hang out in chat rooms, so steer clear!
· If your child wants to set up a social networking page (Facebook, MySpace, etc.), set it up together and keep the password.
· If your child already belongs to a social networking site (Facebook, MySpace, etc.), look closely at what information they have posted to their page and monitor it often.
· Consider the use of filtering software to block sites and/or monitor Internet usage. (Cyber Patrol, CYBERsitter, Net Nanny, etc.)
· If your child has a cell phone, be aware that many sites can be used through Internet cell phone service or text messaging. Many times they do not have to be on a computer to use certain Internet sites. (Facebook, etc.)
· Discuss cyberbullying with your child and the repercussions of bullying online.
· Encourage your child to create a positive “Digital Footprint” on the Internet, and help them understand that what they publish online is permanent.
Here are some great websites to visit to get more Internet Safety information. Many of these sites have interactive games for children to play to learn more about Internet Safety.
If you child has a Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter account, or is thinking about getting one, click on presentations to watch a step-by-step slideshow on how to change privacy settings so that your children stay safe.