Online Safety Basics
Here are some basics to keep in mind when the children are online.
1. Use the parental controls available on the commercial online services.
These services screen public content and provide online hosts to monitor
chat rooms. Check into filtering software to screen out adult sites on
2. Consider placing the computer in a "family room" in your home
and make use of the Internet a family activity. Check the screen periodically
and let your children know that you are interested in what they are learning
3. Ask your children where they go online, and have them show
you. If your children are more familiar with the Internet than you are,
let them teach you about it, you will both enjoy the lesson!
4. Monitor online time. Be aware of excessive hours on the Internet.
5. Make sure your children are aware of online rules. They should
know never to give out their real name, address and/or telephone number,
or agree to meet with someone person to person. Advise your children that
some people on the Internet conceal their real age and identity. Create
a list of online rules and post them by the computer.
6. Monitor your modem telephone bill. Adult Bulletin Board Systems
are easy to access by any communications software. Check out any unfamiliar
numbers on your bill.
7. Support and encourage your child's use of the Internet, and
participate in new learning experiences. Acquaint yourself with their online
pals and email habits. Be aware of correspondence with strangers.
Parent / Child Agreement
Review the following agreement with your children and post them by the
computer as a reminder.
1. I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that
makes me feel uncomfortable.
2. I will not give out my address, telephone number, or the name and
location of my school without my parent's permission.
3. I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without
first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will
be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.
4. If I get a message that is mean, or makes me feel uncomfortable,
I will not respond. It is not my fault if I get a message like that, and
I will tell my parents if I do.
5. I will work with my parents so that we can set up rules for going
online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length
of time I can be online, and areas that I am allowed to visit. I will not
access other areas or break these rules without their permission.
Letter of the Month
We received e-mail from one of our members who tried to implement the parental
controls available on her commercial service provider, but could not get
them to work. Here we share our answer with all of our members who have
children and the same concerns.
Dear SafeSurf Parent,
We understand your concerns and
would like to go over a few basic points with you concerning your child's
time on the Internet. It is imperative that the parent hold the master
password of their Internet service account. This allows the parent to implement
parental controls which can only be altered by the parent under the main
password. The child can then be issued his own account name and password.
Since your son holds the master account and password, parental controls
can be turned off and on at will, therefore you should contact your ISP
and have them reissue the master password to you. We understand your concerns
regarding adult material on the Internet and your desire to block them.
We also recommend utilizing software
which is available on the market today. This software is customizable by
the parent and can block newsgroups, picture files, chat rooms, etc.
SafeSurf's goal is to establish a rating system and use it to enable parental
empowerment across the entire Internet. Help
us make the Internet safe for surfing.