Communicate with your child. Be involved in your child's activities, know their friends, hobbies, and interests.
Take time to teach your children to use the Internet responsibly.
Make sure the computer is in a high traffic area.
Familiarize yourself with the computer, programs, and the method that your child uses to communicate online.
When possible, use the Internet with your children.
Use Internet filters or blocking software, and parental controls.
Set time limits for Internet use.
Develop an 'online rules' agreement with your children, and have everyone sign it.
Make sure you know your children's logon passwords - and no one else does.
Know your children's friends - and their parents. Find out what rules/safeguards other parents have at homes where your child might
be spending time online.
Know about the meanings of abbreviations and acronyms used in chatrooms and online and
chat room signs - emoticons used ...
Children should not complete profiles for a service provider or enter any personal information on any form.
Children's screennames should be nondescript so as not to identify that the user is a child -- no cute names, school names, or names with year of birth.
It's even safer for girls to use a gender-neutral or boy's name, since most predators are on the lookout for young girls.
Use child-friendly search engines.
Find out who children are exchanging E-mail with, and only let them use chat areas when you can supervise.
Be aware of any other computers or Internet access available to your child.
Going Beyond the Computer:
More Tips For Concerned Parents
Unfortunately, just protecting your child from online predators through
your home computer is not enough. Many children and teens have access to
computers at school, libraries, other friends' homes, and even internet
cafes. A child can be exposed to a predator online elsewhere, and bring the
threat and danger home.
With cellular phones as prevalent as they are today, many children have a phone
with them 24 hours a day. This can present a problem when attempting to keep
track of who your child is talking to.
Just because you get the monthly bill, does not mean they cannot be making and
receiving calls that you don't know about. Most calling plans offer 'free minutes' during
off-peak hours, and occasionally, these calls are not itemized on the monthly bill.
Consult your wireless carrier to determine how minutes are billed and phone calls are
Consider the possibility that you may need to keep your child's cell phone in your room each night to prevent
unauthorized calls late at night when no one else is listening.
This is a precaution that should also be taken with home phones. Keep track of where all of your
cordless handsets are in the house, and, if necessary, lock them up or do away with them completely.
Also, be aware that your child could still be using the phone, even if you've secured all of your family's
phones in the house.
As you might expect, teens can go to great lengths to attempt to 'outsmart' the parent, or get around
the rules. You may need to disable the phone jack(s) in unmonitored areas of the home in order to prevent
your teen from buying or borrowing a small phone, and plugging it into their own jack. Then, in the morning
the phone could have been unplugged and hidden.
Caller ID has become helpful in preventing unwanted calls, but remember that a teen can easily delete the history
on a caller ID phone, much like they can delete the history on a computer. Consider getting 'caller ID blocking blocking',
thus preventing unknown callers from calling your home. Also, keep a caller ID phone in a secure place
in order to record all incoming calls received.
Even cell phones can be purchased without a parent's knowledge. Cellular phones are so readily available
these days, that phones and calling cards for them can be purchased at many drug, convenience, and grocery
For Online Safety ---
Google Safety Tools
Google SafeSearch (Set search settings on your own computer)
SafeSearch Lock - Can set a password so that search settings are not changeable without password use.
More info on using Lock feature
Reporting Inappropriate Content
Place to report inappropriate, explicit material you may have found on Google, YouTube,
Picasa Web Albums or
Setting Sharing Controls and Privacy Settings
Google offers many services that allow users to share information, from Gmail to YouTube to Blogger.
Sharing controls in these products put you in control of how much and what type of content you share with whom, online, including photos, personal blogs, and profile information,
Google Talk and Gmail Chat
Picasa Web Albums
Mobile and Geolocation
Tips from Parents at Google
More information from informed and aware, Internet saavy parents.
Resources for Safety
More Internet safety information and resources for kids and schools