General Online Information
The Internet can be a great source of information and education. However,the Internet is not governed by any entity. This leaves no limit to the kind of information maintained by and accessible to Internet users.
The World Wide Web (www) is a virtual world with all the same risks and realities of the real world containing both personal and commercial Web sites. Although the Web contains many great sites for both children and adults, it can also contain Web sites that may be harmful, offensive even criminal.
Nothing can replace parental involvement and supervision, as well as education from our schools.
Get to know your Internet Service Provider (ISP), as well as your child or teenager’s computer clubs and friends.
Invest in reliable anti-virus software and make sure it is updated. This is especially important if you have online banking from your home computer.
Establish a user agreement at home, and at school, and sign it.
Monitor computer usage and online time.
Set up your family computer in a common area of your home instead of a bedroom.
Have children show you what they are doing and participate in their online exploration. Perhaps they could teach you a thing or two?
Internet Activity to Be Aware Of:
Social Networking websites
Sites like Facebook and MySpace, etc.. have become increasingly popular and like other Internet activities, can pose problems if precautions are not taken.
Limit personal information you make available to other users.
Do not post your date of birth, address or any other personal information on your page.
Check what privacy settings you have on your profile. Some settings (what people can search for your name – i.e: “friends” or friends of friends”) are very open by default and can allow anyone to find out about you.
Chat rooms can be a dangerous place for children and teenagers on the Web. A chat room is a place where people “meet” online and chat. It can also be a place where pedophiles and other criminals look for victims. In Chat Rooms, real time conversations take place in their own language. There are many different chat rooms with various areas of interest. Private and public conversations can occur in chat rooms, but it’s important to retain a log to assist in police investigations. Police may be able to trace e-mail addresses through internet service providers and chat registrants if necessary.
Know this: Chat profiles don’t always reflect who the person actually is. They may represent themselves as teenagers when they actually adults.
Chat Programs (MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger etc)
Chat programs are similar to Chat rooms in that they are real time conversations. They can be difficult to monitor if the chat logging feature is not activated.