Here are some very good steps you as a parent can take to protect your kids.
- Become more computer literate and Internet savvy.
- Keep the computer in a "public" area in your house. Monitor your childs computer use. Talk with your children about their online activities and their online friends.
- Check out parental controls available on your online service. Block adult chat rooms. Block Instant/Personal Messages from people you dont know. Install filtering/blocking software, or use a clean Internet Service Provider that filters at the server level.
- Do not let your children have online profiles, so they will not be listed in directories and are less likely to be approached in childrens chat rooms, where pedophiles often search for prey.
- Tell your children to never "go private" into a private chat room.
- Tell your children to never give out personal information, including name, address, school they attend or teachers names, parents names, etc.
- Tell your children to never, never, never tell anyone where they will be or what they will be doing, and they may never meet someone from online without you.
- Tell your children to never respond to rude or offensive e-mail, messages, or postings.
- Do not allow your children to post, send or receive pictures online. Picture files end with GIF, JPG, or JPEG.
- Monitor the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem. Time on the Internet is time taken from other healthy activities.
- Tell your children to let you know if anything seems strange to them, if they are asked personal ("what are you wearing" type) questions, or if their online friend invites them someplace.
- Changes in your childs behavior (mention of adults you dont know, secretiveness, inappropriate sexual knowledge, sleeping problems, etc.) may indicate a problem.
- Letting children use the Internet unattended, particularly talking in chat rooms, is the equivalent of dropping them off in Central Park and saying, "Go make some new friends."
Vital Internet Safety Information from Child Quest