General tips for parents
- Learn everything you can about the Internet. Have your children show you the sites they visit, learn chat room lingo and acronyms that chatters use (like POS for Parent Over Shoulder)
- Know what other Internet functionality your child may have access to like instant messaging, chat, e-mail and other text messaging. Visit www.cybertipline.com for a quick lesson.
- Establish approved Internet time and territory. Make it clear to children what sites they can and cannot visit, what hours they may use Internet, and with whom they may communicate.
- Keep the computer in a common area of the home, such as a living room or family room, where adults can easily monitor online activity.
- Discuss the importance of telling you or a trusted adult if something ever makes your child or teen feel scared, uncomfortable or confused while online.
- Consider installing software to monitor your child’s activity on the internet.
- Show your children how to turn off the monitor when something makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused.
- Make sure you are aware of any other places your child may be using the Internet, such as a friend’s house or the library. Today cellular phones are used to access the internet. This can be done from anywhere, even your child’s school.
- Talk to your children about what personal information is and why they should never give it out. All too often children are giving out information such as phone numbers which could lead a predator to your front door.
Tips for children and teens
- Don’t give out your personal information such as name, age, address, telephone number, parent/guardian’s name, and school name/address.
- Do not respond to mean, offensive, threatening, or unwanted email or instant messaging.
- Choose a screen name that doesn’t identify you as a young boy or girl. Also choose a screen name that doesn’t provoke a predator to solicit your child.
- Don’t share your password with anyone (except a parent/guardian)-not even your best friend.
- NEVER agree to meet with someone you don’t know. Remember, people online may or MAY NOT be who they say they are.
- Tell your parents, a teacher or trusted adult if you read or see something online that makes you uncomfortable or if someone threatens you or suggests you meet.
- Check the e-mail your children receive for appropriate content.
- NEVER post your child’s e-mail address in any directory.
- Don’t “unsubscribe” on unwanted, un-requested or unsolicited e-mail. Don’t sign up for free offers (remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is!).
- Don’t forward e-mails to everyone in your address book.
- Make sure children only exchange email with people they know and let them use chat areas you supervise. Once again, setup the home computer in a place where it can be monitored. The computer should never be located in your child’s bedroom.
Other Important Links
The CyberTipline provides the public and electronic service providers (ESPs) with the ability to report online (and via toll-free telephone) instances of online enticement of children for sexual acts, child sexual molestation, child pornography, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the Internet. NCMEC continuously reviews CyberTipline reports to ensure that reports of children who may be in imminent danger get first priority. After NCMEC’s review is completed, all information in a CyberTipline report is made available to law enforcement.
Online Safety Tools for Parents, Educators, and Kids
Reporting Internet Fraud