Setting Rules for Internet Safety

As a family, it is important to have shared guidelines for internet safety, and to teach your children these guidelines as soon as they are old enough to use the computer. In terms that they can understand, that are appropriate to their age level, explain to them that the internet can be dangerous, and that they need to follow certain rules to keep them safe. As a family, sit down and discuss these guidelines. Be sure your children know what to do if they are approached by someone they don’t know online, and be sure that they know the consequences if they choose to break a family internet rule.

Guidelines to Establish for Internet Usage:

Teach your child not to give out names, addresses, phone numbers, or any other personal information over the internet.

Teach your child to tell you right away if anything they see or that is said to them over the internet makes them uncomfortable. Reassure them that you will not be angry or upset with them, but that it is very important to tell you about this type of event.

Teach your child to never agree to meet someone in person that they have met online.

Teach your child to never send their picture over the internet to anyone, no matter how well they “know” them.

Teach your child to never respond to mean messages from their friends sent over the internet – “cyberbullying”. Instead, teach them to tell you about the messages, so that you can then take appropriate action.

As a family, set limits to internet usage – both amounts and time of day. Then teach your child to follow these guidelines.

Teach your child to never give out their user names or passwords to anyone but you – not even their best friends.

Teach your child to ask you for permission before downloading or installing any software or program. Explain to them that some software can hurt the computer, and that you need to check before they install anything. Be sure that you have appropriate anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed, just in case.

Be sure that your child understands that being allowed to use the internet is a privilege, not a right, and that it can be taken away if rules are broken. By setting clear guidelines and expecting them to be followed, you are establishing a clear precedent for internet usage in your home. Start your child out using the internet responsibly as soon as they are able, and establish guidelines for a lifetime.

Have a great day!