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Guidelines for ensuring your child's cyber safety

Updated April 5, 2017

To keep children safe in cyberspace, provide them with safe rules and guidelines and ongoing supervision to make sure their computer use is healthy and age appropriate. Familiarize yourself with the websites they are visiting and locate the computer in a common area instead of a child’s bedroom. Allowing use of a chat room on a computer in a child’s bedroom or a private room is the same thing as inviting strangers into your home. In the majority of cases where children have been victimized or involved in computer crime, the computer has been located in the child’s bedroom.

Chat rooms like MySpace are fun places for children to express themselves, but parents should supervise this activity and remind children not to give out personal information such as an address, phone numbers, credit card or calling card numbers, a school’s name or a picture to anyone on a computer network that they do not personally know. (As a general rule, credit or calling card numbers should not be given out—even to a child’s friend). Tell your children not to answer messages that are threatening, indecent or make them feel uncomfortable. Generally, a predator’s first three questions to a potential child victim contacted on the Internet are related to the child’s age, sex and location. To ensure on-line safety, parents, grandparents and child care providers need to know where and what children are doing at all times, as predators are waiting for them to let their guard down.

The following cyber safety websites are resources for all parents:

  • The Federal Trade Commission has on-line children's privacy information available on its website.
  • Visit the Teenangels website, site of the “Teenangels,” a group of specially trained teenage volunteers that operate programs in schools on responsible and safe Internet surfing for younger kids, parents and teachers.
  • "Wired Safety," an Internet safety, help and education organization, helps people of all ages with problems that can arise on-line.
  • Parents Guide to Protecting Kids, which provides virtual private network (VPN) provider reviews, in-depth guides and news articles on privacy and cyber security, offers this Parents Guide to Protecting Kids Online.

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