Internet Safety

Injury Prevention Internet Safety cartoonComputers have opened the world to children in many ways. The ability to find and retrieve information and knowledge is now at their fingertips. Unfortunately, there are many dangers associated with this ability. No matter how skilled your child is on the computer, he/she still needs your guidance, involvement, experience and judgment in computer encounters. Just like everything else, you must set rules for your child’s computer activities.

Safety Tips

  • Place the computer in a central family location.
  • Make sure you can walk in and view what your child is doing on the computer at any time. If your child shuts down when you enter the room, consider this a warning sign and a time to talk.
  • Make sure you have access to your child’s e-mail account so you are aware of what is coming in and going out.
  • If you have concerns about sites your child is visiting, check the browser history. It is important for your child to learn what is appropriate and what is not. Talking about your concerns provides a level of education; taking away computer privileges may just encourage your child to use someone else’s computer.
  • Keep the lines of communication open at all times so children will feel comfortable talking if they are uneasy about something they see on the computer.
  • Surf the net together – this is a great way to educate and share interests, and children will not feel like you’re just being overprotective.
  • Remind your children that people online are strangers. All of the rules about strangers still apply. Even if they think they are chatting to a friend, they can never be sure – it is safest to consider them strangers.

Using the Internet

Surfing the net, chatting and sending instant messages can be lots of fun. But, just like everything else, there are some rules you need to follow to stay safe when you’re on the Internet.

First of all, remember that you can never be sure who you’re chatting with on the computer. They are strangers. Even if someone talks like a friend, be careful. On the Internet, everyone is a stranger because you can’t see them to know if they are who they say they are.

When you’re on the Web, follow these rules to stay safe:

  • Never give out personal information.
  • Personal information is:
    • Your real name
    • Your address
    • Your phone number
    • Your age
    • Where you go to school or work
    • The name of your sports team
    • The name of your band
    • Whether you are a boy or girl, woman or man
    • The names of any of your friends or relatives or any information about them
  • If you need to fill out a profile to set up a chat, do not use real information. Many of the boxes can be left blank.
  • Talk with your parents about setting rules for using the computer.
  • If there is something on the computer that you would not want to share with your parent or family, it is not something you should be doing or viewing either.
  • If anything makes you feel funny while you’re on the Internet, talk to an adult.
  • Never agree to meet anyone you’ve chatted with on the computer unless an adult is going to be with you.