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Internet Safety

The Internet offers a world of resources with the click of a mouse. But there is a dark side to the Internet that poses a variety of dangers for our youth, such as viruses that could harm your computer; pedophiles that are trying to meet your child; and disclosing personal information that could lead to identity theft.  Every parent must recognize these dangers in order to help their child learn to protect his/her self online. The following are some safety tips for parents of elementary students who use the Internet.

Place the computer in a common area. We strongly suggest your child not have a computer in his or her room, or at least no internet access on the computer in his or her room.

Learn to use the Internet. Experience cyberspace with your child and learn how to check the computer’s “History” to see what websites your child is visiting

Teach Your Children the Following Rules:

  • Never accept files or downloads from unknown sources; this includes familiar sources if you were not expecting them.

  • Choose an email address/ screen name that DOES NOT contain any part of your name, age, gender, interests or favorite activities.

  • Do Not fill out a profile without parent review and approval.

  • Never give out real name, telephone or cell phone number(s), mailing address, or passwords.

  • Do Not enter chat rooms.

  • Do Not post photographs in publicly accessible sites.

  • The settings for ANY social networking profiles* should be PRIVATE and new friends are accepted only if they are known to the child AND parent.
    *Social networking sites include: MySpace, FaceBook, Bebo, etc.

Talk to your child about the dangers online.

Your child should know that:

  • Accepting files or downloads from unknown sources can bring a virus that could harm the computer.

  • Giving away personal information can lead to identity theft or worse.

  • People may not be who they say they are online -- predators roam cyberspace. 

Open communication with your child is vital.  Your child needs to feel they can come to you if they encounter frightening communications or images without fear of losing Internet privileges.

If you have a webcam, your child should use it ONLY if you are present. Posting pictures online or sending images can have dangerous consequences.  Parents must control such activity.

Note to Parents:  There are many organizations and activities in which your child may be involved that post information online in public locations.  It is extremely important for you to pre-approve any information about your child that will be posted for the world to see. Remember, cyber predators are looking too.

If you suspect that your child has been contacted by predator:

  •  Notify law enforcement
  •  File a complaint online at www.missingkids.com
  •  Call the Office of the Attorney General at 505-222-9000 and ask for an Internet Crimes Against Children investigator.