By taking responsibility for your children's online computer use, parents can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online. Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children. Following is a list of safety suggestions to discuss with your children:
Rules for Online Safety
- I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents' work address/ telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents' permission.
- I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.
- I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.
- I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.
- I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the online service.
- I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online, and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.
- Discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder. Monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. Remember that personal computers and online services should not be used as electronic babysitters.
Rules for Online Safety were reproduced from the Child Safety on the Information Highway brochure, written by Lawrence J. Magid, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times.