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Online Safety: 3 Tips for Parents to Protect Your Child

There’s no doubt that people are spending more and more time online, and teenagers are no exception. Social networking sites, chat rooms, and video conferencing are common tools that kids use. With so much time spent on the Internet, it's important to make sure your kids are safe. Here are some internet safety tips for parents that will keep your teen’s online experience a positive one:

Internet Safety Rules

  • Keep identity private. Talk to your child about the importance of keeping her identity private online. Never reveal information like social security numbers, passwords, private email addresses, home addresses, etc. Make sure your teen doesn’t give anyone enough information to find out exactly who she is and where she lives.
  • No face-to-face contact. Stress to your teen that it’s never a good idea to set up a face-to-face meeting with someone she's met online.
  • No response to inappropriate messages. Tell your teen to never respond to emails, instant messages, or comments that are inappropriate or hostile. If your teen receives any emails, instant messages, or comments on a social networking site that are inappropriate or hostile, flag the message and report it, but don’t respond.
  • Set firm ground rules. You teen needs to know what you expect from her in terms of Internet use. Let's face it; teens are going to need to use the Internet for school and to do research. Make sure she stays safe. A great way to let her know you're serious is to use an internet safety and technology use contract.

Kids who know the rules and know those rules will be enforced are safer online than kids who have no rules and who are not monitored by an adult. It is your responsibility as a parent to make sure your child knows how to conduct herself online, stay as safe as possible, and minimize any potential risks that could easily happen by not staying serious about online safety.