Keep your child Safe
Online tools are available that will let you control your child’s access to adult material and help protect them from Internet predators. No option is going to guarantee that they'll be kept away from 100% of the risks on the Internet. So it's important to be aware of your child’s computer activities and educate them about online risks.
Many Internet service providers (ISPs) provide parent-control options to block certain material from coming into a computer. You can also get software that helps block access to certain sites based on a "bad site" list that your ISP creates. Filtering programs can block sites from coming in and restrict personal information from being sent online. Other programs can monitor and track online activity. Also, make sure your children create a screen name to protect their real identity.
Getting Involved in your child’s Online Activities
Aside from these tools, it's wise to take an active role in protecting your children from Internet predators and sexually explicit materials online. To do that:
- Become computer literate and learn how to block objectionable material.
- Keep the computer in a common area, not in individual bedrooms, where you can watch and monitor its use.
- Share an email account with your child so you can monitor messages.
- Bookmark your children's favorite sites for easy access.
- Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
- Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software. Be aware that posting messages to chat rooms reveals a user's email address to others.
- Monitor your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges.
- Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child's school, after-school center, friends' homes, or anyplace where kids could use a computer without your supervision.
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
- Forward copies of obscene or threatening messages you or your children recieve to your Internet service provider.
Many sites use "cookies," devices that track specific information about the user, such as name, email address, and shopping preferences. Cookies can be disabled. Ask your Internet service provider for more information.