Some dangers that children and teenagers face on the Internet include exposure to inappropriate material, sexual solicitation, bullying, and even identity theft. Internet social networking websites that are popular with children and teenagers are also a common source for sexual predators to use for targeting young victims.
- Educate your children on Internet safety, just as you do for the real world. Talk to your children about the dangers, and establish rules that should include:
- A time limit on daily use of the Internet.
- Websites that your children are allowed to use.
- Never respond to harassing or bullying messages you receive.
- Never participate in harassing or bullying messages.
- It can be very dangerous to meet in-person someone you've met on the Internet; they may not be who they claim to be. If you must go, make a promise to bring a parent with you.
- Keep the computer in a common area, not a child's bedroom.
- Stay involved and familiarize yourself with the sites your children would visit, such as Internet social working websites.
- Make sure your children don't share personal information online. Personal information includes: name, address, schools and sport teams.
- Emphasize with your children to never write anything on the Internet that you wouldn't put on the front page of a newspaper. Once you've placed something on the Internet, it could stay there forever. Your online profile reflects who you are, and can be viewed by anyone, including coaches, employers, and college admissions offices.
- Communicate with your children. Assure them that if they make a mistake, get harassed or sexually solicited, they can always come to you. Children are more vulnerable when they feel alone.