Before your children use the Internet, you should talk to them about what content they are allowed to access. Above all, it’s important to open the lines of communication about online material that makes your child feel uncomfortable. Often, children are afraid to tell a parent or guardian about something they have seen because they are afraid that their Internet privileges will be taken away. The best solution is to openly discuss the situation before a problem arises.
- Know where children may have access to the Internet—at school, friends’ houses, community centers, or libraries—and where the computers may not have blocking and filtering mechanisms.
- Encourage your children to come to you or another trusted adult if he or she encounters inappropriate material.
- Install blocking, filtering, and monitoring software in order to block pop-ups, restrict access to sites with adult content, and see which sites your children visit.
- Discuss your family values with your children and be clear about what online content aligns with those values. Clarify values and discuss how much of what is readily available may not support healthy values.
- Use the NetSmartz Internet Safety Pledges to set clear guidelines for going online.
- Report the sexual exploitation or online enticement of a child to www.cybertipline.com.
Thank you to NetSmartz.org for providing these tips!