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Online Safety Tips

Online Safety

TIPS FOR PARENTS

  • Put the child's online computer in a common area
  • Establish rules for Internet use
  • Supervise Internet use - especially chat
  • Talk about the Internet - "What's new online?"
  • Review screen names and buddy lists periodically with your child
  • No profiles for anyone under the age of 13. If the child is 13 or older, use "appropriate" profiles.
  • No home pages for young children. Supervised content for older kids.
  • No web cams unless CLOSELY supervised. Supervise any picture swapping.
  • Teach your kids about "Online Stranger Danger"
  • Use a filtering program and/or parental controls available through your Internet service provider

Most importantly, tell your kids that you love them. If you don't, there is no shortage of pedophiles on the Internet who are eager to....

SIGNS YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE AT RISK OF ONLINE CHILD EXPLOITATION

  • Your child receives mail, gifts and/or packages from someone you do not know.
  • Your child receives phone calls from adults (mostly men) you do not know.
  • You find pornography on your child's computer
  • Your child spends a great deal of time online - especially at night or unsupervised
  • Your child becomes withdrawn or secretive about his/her online activities

WEBSITE RESOURCES FOR PARENTS

www.getnetwise.org

This is an excellent site that can assist parents in determining whether they need a filtering software or monitoring software and makes recommendations as to what software is most appropriate for the computer system in use.

www.netparents.org

Great resource that lists websites for families, websites for safety tips and child protection sites.

www.state.ct.us/dps/sex_offender_registry.htm

State of Connecticut Sex Offender Registry. Search by name or location.

www.missingkids.com

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website. Excellent resources on child safety and safety on the Internet. Report child exploitation and child pornography through the Cybertipline directly through the website.

www.msn.staysafeonline.com

Web version of the Stay Safe Online game used in the "Play it Safe Online" Program.

TIPS FOR Kids

The most important thing to remember when you go online is to keep private, personal information to yourself! Information that should not be shared on the Internet include:

  • Your real, full name
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Where you go to school
  • Your teacher's full name
  • Your parents' names
  • Where your parents work

Screen names: Your screen name is the first thing someone sees when you are in a chat room. Your screen name is the first thing someone sees on an instant message or an email. It identifies who you are. When choosing a screen name, make sure you do not reveal your real name. You should avoid suggestive or provocative names like "badgirl" or "lookingforlove." Don't use your year of birth or age, because it is important to keep personal information like how old you are to yourself until you really know someone. When choosing a screen name, it is best to select a combination of letters and numbers that do not identify you. It is o.k. to refer to something that you like, like a band or a sport or a video game.

Personal profiles: No one under the age of twelve is allowed to advertise a personal profile. Some kids lie about their age and enter a personal profile or respond to an advertisement on the Internet saying that they are older than they really are. If you get yourself into a situation where you have lied about your age and you feel uncomfortable, you should tell a trusted adult right away!

On the Internet, you may think that you really know someone, but you really don't. Some people who pretend to be a kid's friend at first are really an adult who isn't a friend at all, but someone who wants to hurt the kid or show them things that the kid isn't old enough to see, or make them do or say things that, when done with someone your age is a crime.

Chatroom talk: When you go into a public chatroom, always be aware that other people are watching you that you do not know. Never give out your real name, your address or your telephone number in a chatroom. Don't send or display pictures of yourself without checking with your parents.

WHAT IF?

Someone sends you dirty pictures: Someone sends you pictures of a person or people and the people are naked or touching in ways that make you feel uncomfortable (icky)?

No matter what someone might tell you online, sending a kid a picture of a naked person or of people or animals or cartoon characters touching in intimate ways should be reported to your parents, another trusted adult like a teacher or guidance counselor, your Internet service provider or a police officer.

Someone wants to meet you in person?

It really isn't a good idea to meet people in person who you meet on the Internet. Even when you're an adult, it really isn't safe to meet people from the Internet in person without really getting to know the person, checking out their background and making sure that at least one other person who can protect you knows where you're going. If someone asks to meet you, it's perfectly acceptable to say something like, "My parents never let me meet people from the Internet in real life." If the person keeps asking you to meet them anyway, you can say something like, "If you were really my friend, you wouldn't want me to get into trouble with my parents."

Someone wants a picture of you?

Some people break the law by taking pictures or videos of kids when the kid isn't wearing all of his or her clothes or they get the kid to pose in ways that make some people think about sex. A good rule to follow is to never pose for a picture or video or let someone take a picture or video of you unless you tell your parents before you do it. Be very, very careful about using a web cam or posting digital pictures or scanned pictures of yourself on the Internet. Those people use pictures of kids that they get from the Internet for all sorts of bad things. It really is the best thing to not put any pictures of yourself, in any way, on the Internet.



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