Chapter Twenty-One: List of Online Safety Tips for Kids

It can be a good idea to create and maintain a makeshift "list" of pledges between you and your child before they start browsing online and using the Internet. The following are just some suggestions for you and your child to go over together.

  • Insist on creating a list of safe and approved websites to visit while online. Leave the list on or near the monitor so that they serve as a constant reminder for children.
  • In addition to the list of websites, set up rules for the length of time allowed online.
    • This rule can be set daily, or at a fixed rate.
    • Compromise with each other on the amount of time allowed to browse the Web. Do not access it during any other times without prior approval.
    • Discuss the consequences if the rules are not followed and the results of those actions.

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  • Explore those websites together. Learn about them and understand what your child does, what his or her interests are, and what types of people they talk to, etc.
  • Keep the computer in a neutral place in the house.
    • With the computer in a mutually shared space, the chances of kids getting hurt by online predators drastically decreases and kids are more inclined to actually spend less time on the computer and more time participating in family and/or extracurricular activities.
  • Have them make a pledge to never give out any personal information including:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Where your parents work
    • Parent’s work address or telephone number
    • Passwords
    • Credit card information
    • Etc.
  • Agree to stay within the boundaries of the aforementioned safe sites and never visit other websites unless approved.
  • Promise to only use kid-friendly and parent-approved search engines, even when completing homework.
  • Tell your child to never start talking to someone they met online, and to never, ever meet-up with them in person. They are most likely not who they say they are.
    • Tell your kids to let you know if they begin to make new "friends" online.
    • Tell them to only add people to their friends list if they have met them in person before.
    • Tell them that may never, ever agree to any in-person meet ups with someone they have never met.
  • Understand that mobile devices and tablets now have much of the same capabilities as computers do. It is important to have all of these pledges and more, in regards to computer usage, translate into mobile device and tablet usage.
    • It can actually be more important with these devices to NOT give out ANY bit of personal information because with their GPS tracking capabilities, it is now easier than ever to track and pinpoint someone’s exact location at any time.
  • Have your kids agree to never create usernames or online accounts without your permission. Help your kids find safe and suitable usernames.

Teach your kids to be smart online, and to not do anything that they would be scared to talk about after. Remember, having set rules and open dialogue can do wonders in protecting you and your family. Bear in mind that as parents you need to support your kids, so that they are not afraid to share their fears with you.