- What is America Links Up? America Links Up is a public awareness and education campaign that provides adults and children with the information and tools to help ensure a safe, rewarding and educational experience on the Internet. The America Links Up program teaches Internet basics and provides safety tips and tools to assist parents and children.
- Can anyone participate in America Links Up? The America Links Up program is being launched during National Kids Online Week from September 14 -20, 1998. During that week and for a year afterwards, schools, library and community centers are encouraged to hold a local version of the national event in communities around the nation. Materials are available on the America Links Up web site for anyone interested in holding a local event. Limited numbers of printed copies of the materials are also available.
- What does the Internet offer children? The Internet is rich global resource for information and communication. All children need to learn information technology skills that will be vital to their future success in the workforce. The Internet serves as an educational tool that can help a child research a report. It also has web sites that are entertaining and fun. The Internet also serves as a communication tool that can link your child to friends, family and teachers. These benefits are why it is worth the effort for children and their parents to learn how to use the Internet for safe, rewarding and educational experiences.
- What do you mean by a "safe online experience"? The Internet can be a source of education and entertainment for children. But without an adult's guidance, children can encounter content that is strictly for adults only or even illegal. America Links Up encourages parents and educators to be involved and aware when children are online
- What are the risks for children and where are the dangers on the Internet? While there are a lot of useful things on the Internet, some are using the technology in negative ways. Some of the material parents should know exists on the Internet are child pornography, other obscene material and objectionable sites such as hate groups and cults. Stalkers or predators also can access children through e-mail, chat rooms and usenets.
- Isn't there software available for parents to block web sites children shouldn't see? There is software available and Internet service providers also have blocking systems in place. Parents can choose to either extensively block material or be less restrictive when choosing what material to block. A list of filters is available at the America Links Up web site (www.americalinksup.org). Even when using filtering software, parents should still stay involved with their kids online.
- How can parents that have never used a computer help their children stay safe online? Parents should review the safety tips included in the America Links Up program and discuss them with their children. Parents may go to their local library or community centers to learn more about computers and the Internet. This will not only help keep kids safe, but help keep parents involved in their child's education. And the Internet offers fun and entertaining web sites for the entire family.
- Should parents monitor everything their child sees on the Internet?
Realistically, most parents cannot be with their children all of the time, so family rules should reflect the age of the child and individual family values. The president of one Internet company is on record saying that his nine-year-old daughter cannot go online when he isn't there. At age 14, the rule might be different. The important thing is for parents to be aware of their children's online activities. America Links Up is a program designed to help parents and educators get involved in a child's online experience by giving guidance and help in finding good quality content and implementing safety rules and tools.
- What should children do if they find themselves in an offensive web site? The child should exit the site immediately, then tell an adult so they may report it to their Internet Service Provider and law enforcement officials if necessary. If the site contains child sexual content, or child exploitation content it should be reported to the CyberTipline at www.missingkids.com/cybertip or at 800 843-5678.
- Who is America Links Up? America Links Up is a broad-based coalition of non-profits, education groups, corporations and government agencies concerned with providing children with a safe and rewarding experience online. Sponsors and supporters include America Online, AT&T, Fleishman-Hillard, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Co., Time Warner, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Library Association, the National Education Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, Enough is Enough, CyberSmart!, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Children's Partnership, i-Village, FamilyEducation Network, KIDSNET, The Learning Company, Net Nanny, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National School Board Association, the National Urban League and the Recreational Software Advisory Council. For a complete list of sponsors and supporters, please visit the America Links Up web site at www.americalinksup.org