Ten Tips for Parents

Children and the Internet - A Guide for Parents

Arrowhead Library System - Janesville, Wisconsin


Tip #1. Take the trip together. Take the time to see what your kids are doing online and what their interests are.
-- If you don't know how to log on, get your child to show you. Become familiar with all the things you can do online.

Tip #2. Teach kids never to give out their personal information to people they meet online especially in public places like chat rooms and bulletin boards.
-- don't reveal home address, school name, telephone number
-- don't post photos of your children on web sites or newsgroups that are available to the public.
-- avoid using your child's name and e-mail address in any public directories and profiles
-- find out about your Internet service provider's (ISP) privacy policies
-- tell your children never to give their password to anyone except their parents (America Online, for example, will never ask for your password.)

Tip #3. Instruct your child never to plan a face-to-face meeting alone with online acquaintances without your permission.
-- If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public place and be sure to accompany your child.

Tip #4. Tell your child not to respond when they receive offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat, or other communications that make them feel uncomfortable.
-- If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy to your Internet service provider and ask for their assistance. If you become aware of the transmission, use or viewing of child pornography while online, immediately report this to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's CyberTipline at http://www.missingkids.com/cybertip.
-- Instruct your child not to click on any links that are contained in e-mail from persons he or she doesn't know. Such links could lead to sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate sites.

Tip #5. As Snoopy says, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."
-- Remind children that people online may not be who they seem. Someone indicating that "she" is a "12-year-old girl" could in reality be a 40-year-old man.

Tip #6. As in real life, any offer that's "too good to be true" probably is.
-- Be very careful about any offers that involve you coming to a meeting, having someone visit your house, or sending money or credit card information.

Tip #7. Establish clear ground rules with your kids for Internet use -- and consequences for breaking them. Decide whether or not to use parental control tools or protective software.
-- Discuss your rules with your children and post them near the computer as a reminder.
-Be sure kids understand that they can come to you to explain things they find, and you will not be angry at them, though you may feel upset that they had to encounter something uncomfortable.  Make sure kids know their rights, and that information
about them and their family is private, and they don't have to give it out.
-- Check "history" to see where your child has gone online. In Netscape Navigator you can check the history by going to the Window menu and clicking on the history command OR click the down arrow on the far right side of the location bar.

Tip #8. Limit the amount of time children spend online. Don't let the Internet take the place of non-virtual chatting, reading, game-playing and exploring.

Tip #9. Place your computer in the family room or another open area of your home where the entire family can see it, monitor the activity, and use it. This increases the likelihood of communication and discussion over computer issues.

Or use the computer together at a library, school, or community center. Public access Internet workstations are set up at all Rock County public libraries. Call your library for more information.

Tip #10. Don't be afraid of bringing this new resource into your home but be informed about its benefits, risks, and role in your life.


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Arrowhead Library System