The Internet can connect you and your family to all types of resources. At your computer, you and your family can read the latest news, look up information, listen to music, play games, buy things, or e-mail friends. The possibilities for learning and exploring on the Internet are endless. However, not all information and resources are safe and reliable. Read more about how to make sure you and your family's experience on the Internet is safe, educational, and fun.
When you and your family surf the Web it's important to keep the following in mind:
- Online information is usually not private.
- People online are not always who they say they are.
- Anyone can put information online.
- You can't trust everything you read online.
- You and your family may unexpectedly and unintentionally find material on the Web that is offensive, pornographic (including child pornography), obscene, violent, or racist.
Setting the rulesIt's important to have a set of rules when your children use the Internet. Make sure your children understand what you consider appropriate and what areas are off limits. Let them know that the rules are for their safety.
Safety firstThe following are tips you can teach your children about online safety:
- NEVER give out personal information unless a parent says it's OK. This includes your name, address, phone number, age, race, school name or location, or friends' names.
- NEVER share passwords, even with friends.
- NEVER meet a friend you only know online in person unless a parent says it's OK. It's best if a parent goes along and to meet in a public place. (Older teens that may choose not to tell a parent and go alone should at least go with a friend and meet in a public place.)
- NEVER respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable or hurt your feelings. Ignore these messages, stop all communication, and tell a parent or another adult you trust right away.
Good behaviorThe following is what you can teach your children about how they should act online:
- NEVER send mean messages online. NEVER say something online that you wouldn't say to someone in person. Bullying is wrong whether it's done in person or online.
- NEVER use the Internet to make someone look bad. For example, never send messages from another person's e-mail that could get that person into trouble.
- NEVER plagiarize. It's illegal to copy online information and say that you wrote it.