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10 Tips for Parents to Keep Children Safer On-line
- Talk to your children about what they are doing online. Sit with them while they use the Internet or play online games, and ask them to explain if there is anything you do not understand.
- If your children participate in social networking (Facebook or Twitter), check what personal information they are providing and who they have given access. Some questions to ask:
- Have they kept identifying details, such as full name, age, school, etc. out of their profiles?
- Have they disabled any features that reveal their location?
- Are they selective about whom they add as “friends,” and have they set their privacy settings so only people they know can view what they post?
- Use fun and interactive resources to help your children and teens learn about Internet safety. Badguypatrol.ca has fun games for children 5-10, and weron2u.ca offers true stories and tools to help teens learn how to keep themselves safe.
- Have a Family Internet Contract, where guidelines and boundaries for safe Internet use are clearly defined and agreed upon by the whole family (visit www.child.alberta.ca for examples).
- If your children use the Internet on their cellphones or gaming systems, discuss how you will make sure they are doing so safely.
- Use filters and parental locks on family computers to help block unsafe sites. Talk to your Internet service provider if you are not sure how to do this. While this is not a substitute for monitoring, it helps to set guidelines for your children’s activities.
- Monitor your child or teen’s Internet use. Keep computers in busy parts of your home. If you have a webcam, have guidelines for when it is appropriate and monitor its use.
- Learn how to spot online predators and pass this information on to your children. Provide them with strategies to use if they think they have come across a predator (visit www.child.alberta.ca to learn more).
- Make sure your children know they can trust you and come to you if they are scared, have questions or think they might be in trouble.
- Talk to your kids about cyber bullying, and how to use the Internet safely with their friends. Sometimes a predator can be someone they think they know.