Child Safety Tips & Resources for the Internet

The Internet can be a wonderful place -- a source of limitless entertainment and education. However, because of the massive press about the morals (or lack thereof) of a few people you may be concerned (and rightly so!) as to what kind of "entertainment and education" your children may end up receiving. We at the DeKalb County Community Network feel that while the risk is real, much can be done to guard against the unknown evils that may lay in wait.

Pam Weaver, director of NetDirect.Net, felt the same way and polled various community networks, educators, and computer professionals to compile a list of helpful hints and resources to aid you in making sure you and your kids are protected. On October 28, 1997 she posted her findings in a message in the ICNA listserve, and we include them here for your review.

As promised, listed below is a combined list of child safety tips and resources. Special thanks to John Sechrest, Ken Ka`imi Stokes, Therese Sarah, Phil Bruce, Stephen T. Bajjaly, Jean Armour Polly, Martha Harris, Hamilton Gilbert, John Walker, Harry Hochheiser and Debby Beavin, all of whom contributed their ideas.

Pam Weaver

Child Safety Tips

bulletTeach kids never to give out personal information such their address, phone number, real name, or the address of their school to random people with whom they converse on the Net. For example, if a child meets someone during a chat session, it would not be wise to start giving out personal information. There are other situations in which they may be asked for personal information. For example, many sites ask for the user's full name, address, etc. on a registration page. Instruct young people to get parental permission before filling out registration forms.
bulletKids and teens should be taught never to give out family information (such as a parent's credit card number) to individuals they meet online. In addition, they should not give out the name of their parents' employers.
bulletTeach kids not to send anyone their picture without getting parental permission first.
bulletTeach kids never to agree to meet with someone they met online before getting parental permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public spot, and be sure to accompany your child.
bulletTeach kids not to answer any message that is mean or that makes them feel uncomfortable.
bulletTeach kids that there are both good and bad places on the Internet.
bulletPut the computer in the family room or other public area, rather than a bedroom.
bulletReview the logs of the sites your child has visited.
bulletKeep your password to the Internet a secret and change it often.
bulletSet reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children
bulletDiscuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder. Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. A child or teenager's excessive use of online services or bulletin boards, especially late at night, may be a clue that there is a potential problem. Remember that personal computers and online services should not be used as electronic baby-sitters.
bulletVisit the other places where your children might have access, such as libraries, schools and friends’ homes. Make sure you are comfortable with the ways these locations deter offensive access.
bulletTeach your children how to interpret and evaluate the material that they see around them.
bulletTeach your children they have the right to say no.

Child Safety Resources

bullet"The Parents' Guide to the Information Superhighway: Rules and Tools for Families Online" (published by The Children's Partnership, the National PTA, the National Urban League, and the American Library Association):
bulletChild safety, censorship, privacy and personal freedom on the Internet:
bulletThe American Library Association Guide to Cyberspace for Parents and Kids:
bulletIndianapolis-Marion County Public Library "Using the Internet" pages:
bulletThe Internet and Your Children - A Smart Parenting Workshop:
bulletProtecting Kids on the Internet: A Guide for Parents:
bulletUniversity of Oklahoma Department of Public Safety:
bulletWhat you should know as a parent:
bulletThis site provides links to 17 Internet filter software packages:
bulletReviews of a few Internet Filters:
bulletAn email listserve whose members discuss child safety issues: To subscribe send email to and in the body of the message type "subscribe caci" (without the quotes)
bulletThe Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages, 2nd Edition:
bulletInternet Coach CD ROMs Search for the Black Rhino, Mission to Planet X, Liftoff to Lizard Island
bulletcontact APTE:
bulletSafeSurf Kid's Wave:
bulletKids' Links:
bulletSurfin the Net for Kids and Families:
bulletComputers: The new electronic babysitter?:
bulletLesson Plan on Surfing Safely on the Internet with Second and Third Graders:
bulletThe Internet at Home:
bulletMedia Values Checklist:
bulletHistory Of A Child Safe Internet:
bulletChild Safety on the Information Highway:

Parent/Child Projects

bulletWalking the Web: A Short Course in Getting Around:
bulletInterNIC's 15-Minute Series:

These links are provided "as is", and no warranty as to their content or availability is made by the DeKalb Community Network Inc. or their Board of Directors. If you find any broken links, please let us know by filling out our Feedback Form.

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