Internet and Online Safety

Today, people use the internet for many things on a daily basis. Below are some tips we'd like to share with you to help make your use of the internet safer for you and your children.

Online Safety Tips for Parents

  • Keep the computer in a common area, such as the family or living room. This helps you monitor your child's computer use.
  • Spend time with your child online, and talk to them about their internet use. Ask to see their profile page(s). Many children have more than one profile. Google your child's name.
  • Snapchat is the most commonly used social media app by teenagers and adolescents, mostly because content (messages, photos or videos) automatically delete after they are opened.  This has made Snapchat the primary means of 'sexting' between teenagers as well as adults.  Please use discretion when deciding if you will allow your child to install Snapchat on their phone. 
  • Know your child's screen names and passwords. Ask your child to add you as a "friend" on his/her profile page.
  • Limit the information allowed in online profiles and make sure profiles and post settings are set to private.
  • Control access to chat rooms and Instant Messaging. Monitor the sites they are visiting by clicking the internet browser's History button.
  • Teach children to avoid risky behavior, such as accepting friend/message requests from strangers, flirting or discussing sex online with people they do not know in person, posting sexually suggestive material or being rude or mean to someone online.
  • Remind children that computer use is not confidential.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Make agreements about computer use, such as:
    • Approved websites they are allowed to visit
    • Length of time they can be online
    • Basic safety rules
      • Never give out personal information (name, age, address, phone) or use a credit card online without permission.
      • Never share passwords with anyone, including friends.
      • Never arrange to meet in person someone they met online.
      • Never reply to a bully or any other uncomfortable messages they receive online.
      • Agree upon the consequences for not following the rules or breaking the agreement. It can be helpful to write down the rules and agreements in the form of a contract.

  Online Safety Tips for Kids

  • Don't share your password - even with your best friend.
  • Know who your friends are! Make sure you have met someone in person before you accept a friend/message request.
  • Don't post anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to see.
  • What you post online stays online FOREVER (even if you think it's deleted), so think before you post.
  • Pay attention to how you are communicating. Don't say anything online you wouldn't say in person. Don't be rude online.
  • Protect your privacy and your friends' privacy too...get their permission before posting something about them.
  • Check what your friends are posting or saying about you. Even if you are careful, they may be putting you at risk.
  • Don't take, keep, or send nude or partial nude pictures of yourself or others. You could be prosecuted for creating or distributing child pornography if you possess or send nude or partial nude pictures of someone under the age of 18.
  • Tell a trusted adult if someone does or says something online that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Unless you’re prepared to attach your Facebook page to your college/job/internship/scholarship or sports team application, don’t post it publicly!
  • Don’t become an addict. The key to becoming the well-rounded adult is to find a balance between your online experience and your in-person social encounters.

Online Shopping

  • Don't give your personal information unless you are absolutely sure that it is safe.
  • Create strong passwords, especially those associated with your bank or credit card information.  
    • Use a combination of letters, numbers and at least one capital letter and special character (@#$%^&*)
  • This means where possible, not giving out your full name, your address, your phone number, your credit card number, your social security number, or information about your family and friends.
  • If you have to give a name to register or login to a forum or for some other online purpose, use a nickname or alias where possible.
  • Sometimes you'll want to give personal details, including your credit card number, for online shopping. This is OK, as long as the online seller is reputable and has secure shopping facilities.
  • Secure shopping means that they use secure servers which receive and store your personal information in encrypted form, so that if anyone intercepts your transaction, they won't be able to decode the data and get your details.
  • Secure site pages will have addresses starting with 'https' rather than 'http' (eg. you might browse around their site on unsecured pages, and then when you are ready to make a purchase, you'll be switched to secured pages).