Internet Safety

Rules for Kids on the Internet

  • Set guidelines for your children’s computer use before they venture out on the Internet.
  • Monitor their online activity just as you would the shows they watch on television, the games they play or the movies they see.
  • Online relationships can create a false send of intimacy. Remind your children that the people they chat with online are still strangers. Never agree to meet them face to face.
  • Tell your children never to respond to threatening or obscene messages.
  • Never disclose personal information, such as a child’s full name, address, telephone number or school name.
  • Let your children know they can talk to you about anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Familiarize yourself with filtering software and decide what is best for your home. Ask your Internet service provider if they offer filtering services to families with young children.
  • Spend time online together with your children and get to know their favorite sites. Talk about what they like and dislike about the site as a way of reinforcing your values.

30 Ways to Stay Safe on the Internet

  • Establish guidelines for Internet use with your parents or another adult. Before you go online, decide how much time is okay for you to spend on the Internet each day and figure out what you can and cannot do. After you get more familiar with the Internet, you and your parents can talk again and change the guidelines. Post them next to the computer for easy reference.
  • Don't share your password with anyone else.
  • Before you share any information about yourself on the Internet, get your parents' permission.
  • Double-check the URL (the address of the Web site) before hitting the Enter key. Make sure the spelling is right. This will help ensure you go to the site you want, and not some other place.
  • Check with your parents or another adult you trust before going into a chat room. Different chat rooms have different rules and different types of people going to them. You and your parents want to make sure it is an appropriate place for you before you enter.
  • If something you see or read online makes you uncomfortable, leave the site. Tell a parent or a teacher right away.
  • Never send a picture of yourself (or anything else) to someone in e-mail unless your parents say it is okay.
  • If you receive unwanted, offensive, mean, threatening, or harassing e-mail, do not respond to it. Tell your parents or another adult right away.
  • Remember: not everything you read on the Internet is true.
  • Don't give out your age without checking with your parents first.
  • Never give out your full name (first and last). Don't give out your first name without checking with your parents or another adult first.
  • Never give out your home address over the Internet.
  • Ask your parents or an adult before signing up for anything online.
  • Don't give out your credit card number (or anyone else's) without permission from a parent.
  • Remember, when you are online, what you do is up to you. Don't do anything you don't want to do.
  • Don't open files or e-mail from someone you don't know. You don't know what might be inside—the files could contain a computer virus or offensive material.
  • Keep the computer in a common space, like the family room, den, or living room.
  • Never agree to meet someone you met on the Internet in person without your parents' permission. You should never meet someone you met online alone. If you do set up a meeting with an online friend, meet in a public place and go with your parent or guardian.
  • Remember that any information you share about yourself can be seen by anyone who is online.
  • Don't give out your phone number.
  • Talk to your parents (or your teacher or another adult) about the kinds of places you go and things you do and see when you are online.
  • Pick a name—different from your real name—to use online.
  • Before you go into a public area, like a chat room or discussion forum, decide with your parents if it is okay to give out your e-mail address.
  • If someone online asks you too many personal questions, be suspicious. Stop talking with them.
  • Don't give out the name of your school.
  • Always remember that people online may not be who they say they are. It is very easy for people to pretend to be someone they are not.
  • Don't do things online that you wouldn't do in real life.
  • Be careful when someone offers you something for free, like gifts or money. You don't know what their motives are. Decline the offer and tell your parents.
  • Treat other people as you'd like to be treated. Never use bad language or send mean messages online.
  • The "off" button is always there. Use it if you need to. You don't have to stay online if you don't want to.

How to Avoid Phishing Scams

BE SUSPICIOUS OF any e-mail, text message or phone call with urgent requests for personal financial information.

Don’t use links in an e-mail, instant message or chat to get to any Web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic or you don’t know the sender. Call the company or log on to the website directly by typing a verified Web address in your browser.

Avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information. Communicate information such as credit-card numbers or account information only via a secure website or a verified telephone number.

Ensure that you’re using a secure website when submitting credit-card or other sensitive information via your Web browser. Enter the address of any banking, shopping, auction or financial transaction website yourself, and do not depend on links. Phishers can forge the yellow lock icon you would normally see near the bottom of your screen on a secure site. When doubleclicked, the lock should display the security certificate for the site. If you get a warning that the address of the site does not match the certificate, do not continue.

Look at the address line. Scam sites may show “https://” and/or the security lock icon. A variation of the URL, i.e., www.costcooffer. com, usually denotes a scam site.

Install a Web browser tool bar to help protect you from known fraudulent websites. Tool bars match the website you are going to with lists of known phisher websites and will alert you. Some popular browsers already include them.

Regularly log into online accounts. Check bank, credit-card and debit-card statements for illegitimate transactions.

Ensure that your browser is up-to-date and security patches are applied.

Internet Safety Links

National Cyber Security Alliance
Anti-Phishing Working Group
Tips from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team
McAfee’s Cybercrime Response Unit
Net Safety
Microsoft Parental Controls
Cyber Safety for Parents

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