Cyber Safety

  • Keep your child's computer in an open area of the house. It is easier to monitor what your child is viewing.
  • Install filtering software on the computer your child uses or use child-friendly search engines. Many Internet Service Providers offer filtering software.
  • Read a Web site's privacy policy before giving out any private or personal identifying information.
  • Use anti-virus software and make sure it updates regularly. Computer viruses are constantly changing so it is imperative that your protection software is up to date.
  • Never give out personal information online to someone you do not know. Explain to your children that people are not always who they say they are. Even small amounts of information like hobbies or a child's favorite hang out provide too much detail to be shared on the Internet.
  • Never meet in person with someone you first met online. Tell your child that no matter how long they have been communicating online, it is virtually impossible to know if a new "friend" is who they say they are.
  • Do not respond to offensive or dangerous email. Encourage your child to follow three simple steps: Stop, Block, and Tell. Stop the correspondence immediately; responding can make the situation worse. Block the user from sending additional emails. Tell a parent or trusted adult about the situation.
  • Tell your child not to open attachments from unknown sources, or respond to pop-ups on your computer. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Many of these attachments or enticements to win a free prize come with the high price of computer viruses or spyware.
  • Visit the Web sites your child visits. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with your child's online world. Many children know more about the Internet than their parents do. Ask them to show you what they like to do online.
  • Teach your child to be a responsible cyber citizen. Just as being a citizen of your local community carries responsibilities, so does being a citizen of the cyber community. Use good manners, be respectful of others, be safe, and respect the laws. Finally, if you see something online that makes you uncomfortable, report it immediately to a parent, your Internet Service Provider or law enforcement.