Crime Prevention - Cybersafety for Children
Are your children safe on your home computer?
The internet has opened up a world of information for anyone with a
computer and a connection! Your children will learn about computers. But
just as you wouldn't send a children near a busy road without some
safety rules, you shouldn't send them on to the information superhighway
without rules of the road. Too many dangers from pedophiles to con
artists can reach children (and adults) through the internet.
Explain that although a person may be alone in a room
using the computer, once logged on to the Internet, he or she is no
longer alone. People skilled in using the Internet can find out who you
are, and where you are. They can even tap into information in your
Set aside time to explore the Internet together. If
you child has some computer experience, let him or her take the lead.
Visit areas of the World Wide Web that have special sites for children.
Chose a commercial online service that offers parental control features.
These features can block contact that is not clearly marked as
appropriate for children; chat rooms, bulletin boards, news groups, and
discussion groups; or access to the Internet entirely.
The best tool a child has for screening material
found on the Internet is his or her brain. Teach children about
exploitation, pornography, hate literature, excessive violence, and
other issues that concern you, so they know how to respond when they see
Purchase blocking software and design your own safety
system. Different packages can block sites by name, search for
unacceptable words and block access to sites containing those words,
block entire categories of material, and prevent children from giving
out personal information.
Monitor your children when they're online and monitor
the time they spend. If a child becomes uneasy or defensive when you
walk into the room, or when you linger, this could be a sign that he or
she is up to something unusual or even forbidden
Tell Your Children
To always let you know immediately if they find
something scary or threatening on the Internet.
Never to give out their name, address, telephone
number, password, school name, parent's name, or any other personal
Never to agree to meet face to face with anyone
they've met online.
Never to respond to messages that have bad words or
seem scary or just weird.
Never to enter an area that charges for services
without asking you first.
Never send a picture of themselves to anyone without
What You Can Do In Your Community
Make sure that access to the Internet at your
children's school in monitored by adults.
Know your children's friends and their parents. If
you child's friend has Internet access at home, talk to the parents
about the rules they have established. Find out if the children are
being supervised while they are online.
Make sure that your child's school has an Acceptable
Use Policy (AUP). This policy should include a list of acceptable and
unacceptable activities or resources, information on "netiquette"
(etiquette on the Internet), consequences for violations, and a place
for you and your child to sign. Your family can design its own AUP for
the home computer.
If your child receives threatening e-mails or
pornographic material, save the offensive material and contact that
user's Internet service provider and your local law enforcement agency.
Finally, if you come across sites that are
inappropriate for children when you are surfing the Net, send the
addresses to online services that offer parental control features or to
sites advertising protection software to add to their list to be
reviewed for inclusion or exclusion. Even if you don't subscribe to the
service or own the protection software, you can help protect other
The Internet is a valuable aid in education and
information, with a little common sense, and supervision it will remain