The Internet can be a great place for kids to learn, be entertained, chat with friends from school, and simply relax and explore. But just like the real world, the World Wide Web can be dangerous for kids. Before you allow your child to go online without your supervision, make sure you establish a set of rules that you can all agree on.
If you're not sure where to start, here are some ideas on what to discuss with your kids to teach them about using the Internet more safely.
Encourage your kids to share their Internet experiences with you. Enjoy the Internet along with your children.
Teach your kids to trust their instincts. If they feel nervous about anything online, they should tell you about it.
If your kids visit chat rooms, use instant messaging (IM) programs, online video games, or other activities on the Internet that require a login name to identify themselves, help them choose that name and make sure it doesn't reveal any personal information about them.
Insist that your kids never give out your address, phone number, or other personal information, including where they go to school or where they like to play.
Teach your kids that the difference between right and wrong is the same on the Internet as it is in real life.
Show your kids how to respect others online. Make sure they know that rules for good behavior don't change just because they're on a computer.
Insist that your kids respect the property of others online. Explain that making illegal copies of other people's work, music, video games, and other programs is just like stealing it from a store.
Tell your kids that they should never meet online friends in person. Explain that online friends may not be who they say they are.
Teach your kids that not everything they read or see online is true. Encourage them to ask you if they're not sure.
Control your children's online activity with advanced Internet software. Parental controls can help you filter out harmful content, monitor the sites your child visits, and find out what they do there.