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Safety Tips for Families

Here are some Safety Tips to help you think about online safety for your family. We encourage you to read the rest of the Safety Guide for more detailed information.

  • Use the Internet with your kids. While you're spending time with them, you can help them to be safe and responsible online. Learn about the technology together, ask lots of questions, and don't be intimidated if it seems like your kids have a better understanding of the technology than you. Remember, it's your family, and you have the power and responsibility to keep an eye on what your kids are doing.
  • Teach kids never to give their personal information to people they meet online, especially in chat rooms and on bulletin boards. If you have a family web site with your children's pictures up, don't include information like where they go to school, where you live, your phone number, or any other personally identifiable information -- that's giving personal information out every bit as much as sending an e-mail or talking to someone in a chat room.
  • Instruct your child never to plan a face-to-face meeting with online acquaintances, and to notify you if they are approached for an offline meeting.

  • Establish clear ground rules for Internet use for your family. Think about signing a Contract with your children that reflects those rules. Learn about the different parental control tools, protective software, and controlled access options that are available, and decide which, if any, are best for your needs.
  • Tell your children not to respond if they receive offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat requests, or other communications, and to leave if they go to a web site that makes them uncomfortable. Also tell them to show you anything they receive that makes them uncomfortable. Assuring them that you won't be angry with them and that they are not to blame can help you to develop a trusting, open relationship.
  • If you become worried that your child or another child is in danger, don't hesitate to contact the authorities.

For additional resources, check out SafeKids.Com Parents' Guidelines and The Children's Partnership Keeping Kids Safe Online: Tips & Tools.

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