Guidelines for Parents or Guardians

By taking responsibility for your children's online computer use, parents or guardians can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online. Make it a family rule to:

  • Never give out identifying information - home address, school name, or telephone number - in a public message such as chat or newsgroups.
  • Only deal with someone both you and your children know and trust before giving out this information via email. Think carefully before revealing any personal information such as age, financial information, or marital status.
  • Do not post photographs of your children in newsgroups or on websites available to the public. Consider using a pseudonym; avoid listing your child's name and email address in any public directories and profiles.
  • Get to know the Internet and any services your child uses. If you don't know how to log on, get your child to show you. Have your child show you what he or she does online, and become familiar with all the activities available online.
  • Find out if your children have free web-based, email account, such as Yahoo and Hotmail. If so learn their user names and passwords on those accounts.
  • Learn the places, such as school and library, where they can access those accounts.
  • Never allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they first "meet" on the Internet without an adult family member's permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public place, and be sure to accompany your child.
  • Never respond to messages that are:
    • Belligerent
    • Make you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused
    • Obscene
    • Suggestive
    • Threatening
  • Encourage your children to tell you if they encounter such messages. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy of the message to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), ask for their assistance.
  • Instruct your child not to click on any links containing in email from persons they don't know. Such links could lead to sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate websites or could be a computer virus.