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Internet Safety Tips for Children

Learn how to protect your kids online. The Internet is a world full of information, entertainment and learning opportunities, but “cyberspace” also holds many dangers for children. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your child.

How to Introduce Your Child to the Internet

Explain to your child that even though he or she may be alone when using the Internet, other people can connect to your computer to find out who and where you are and that precautions must be taken.

Explore the Internet together, letting your child take the lead.

Talk to your child about things that concern you about the Internet … like exploitation, pornography, hate literature and the like … so they’ll know what to do if they encounter it.

How to Control Access

Choose an online service provider that enables you to block access to any site not marked as appropriate for children.

Buy software that allows you to set protective barriers both to block sites and prevent your child from giving out information online.

Look over your child’s shoulder from time to time, not only checking what is on screen but also watching for uneasiness or other signs that something forbidden may be going on.

Teach Your Child

  • Let you know right away if he or she sees anything disturbing online.
  • Never give out any personal information.
  • Never agree to meet someone face-to-face after encountering them online.
  • Never respond to messages that contain obscene or weird language.
  • Avoid sites that charge for services.
  • Never send personal or family photos to anyone online without getting permission from you.

Other Ways to Promote Cyber-Safety

Make sure Internet access at school is controlled and monitored by adults.

If your child has a friend with Internet access, make sure that child’s parents have adequate controls in place and if the children are monitored when online.

Make sure your child’s school has an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that defines acceptable and unacceptable online activities and resources, spells out the consequences for violations, and has a place for you and your child to sign.

If your child receives offensive or threatening e-mail, save the material as evidence and contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.

If you encounter a site that’s inappropriate for children, send its address to online services and sites that provide blocking software so they can review it.


4 Responses to “Internet Safety Tips for Children”

  1. Linda says:

    I’m confused. In order to go into a strip club, adult bookstore you have to be over 18. You have to be over 18 to get adult videos, books, pornography, magazines. You have to pay to view pornography on the television through Pay Per View. There is a law against sending sexually explicit material through the mail unsolicited.
    Why then, do I, as a parent, have to pay for software to -block- unwanted content? Isn’t this backwards? Why on social networking sites, chat rooms, is it even available to children?
    I take my responsibility as a parent very strongly, and I have all kinds of monitoring software on my home computer, even blocking dating sites (which by the way don’t check your age either and many offer “casual encounters”). But my question is, why as a society, do we think it’s okay to be out there and available? The truth is, these sites show up every day, scores of them, blocking software can’t catch it all (which is why they rely on us to a degree to advise them and add to their list). When a child is exposed, it’s too late. They should never be exposed to begin with.
    Those are my thoughts,

  2. Sandra says:

    You indicated on The Today Show that upon request you would forward information relating to Petafyler, Perverts, and others that had the purpensity and record to go after children. You indicated that the viewing audience could type in a certain website and learn whatever accidents/incidents happened when and where in our neighborhood so that we, as parents, etc., would be aware for the safety and well being of our children. Therefore, I humbly request that information for you. I am attempting to learn what I can about my community so that our children can be safe and not have to be afriad and hide! This is so wrong! I look forward to your response. I listen to Today and have done so for many, many years. In fact, I can honestly say that my family has passed the tradition down for many generations. God Bless!! Sandra 954-260-5691

  3. Sandra -

    Hello. The website you are referring to is

    Thanks for visiting.

    Jeff Van Zandt

  4. Shelly Williams says:

    Dear Mr. Van Zandt

    I am a vicitim of sexual abuse by a family member as a young girl. I have been talked with my children about my own abuse without going into any
    detail and explained the difference of appropriate and inappropriate contact and behavior. Although I am certain they understand what I am saying to them, i’m am not so certain they would know what and how to get out of a dangerous or inappropriate situation if in one. My Children’s ages are 11,12,18 and a 4month old grand baby. Can you please direct me to some age appropriate techniques that I can practice with them to better prepare them (God forbid)if they were involved in such a situation? Secondly, the internet is an area that they have more knowledge about than I do. I have talked with them on this area til I am blue in the face again they seem to understand my warnings and messages but I don’t think they believe it can happen to them. With sites like Face Book they have done exactly what they shouldn’t do by sharing personal information and pictures to and from all their friends. Do you have any suggestions for me on this subject?
    Finally, Is there an organization that works with communities to stage a safe controlled but seemingly real attempted abduction or assault either in person or online? To test where our children are vulnerable and design a program to educate them and their parents? Please direct me to places or people who can help keep our children safe.
    Thank you,
    Shelly Williams