Guidelines for keeping your kids safe
It can be difficult to keep your kids completely safe online. Even if you set up parental controls on your home computer, your kids will use many other computers that don't have parental controls. To keep your kids safe, you'll need to teach them to make good decisions online—even when you're not around.
Below are some general tips you can use when teaching your kids about online safety:
- Learn everything you can about the Internet. Being familiar with the Internet will not only help you understand the risks, but it will also help you talk to your kids.
- Set standards for what your kids can and cannot do online. It's important to make rules for your kids so they know what's expected of them. Don't wait until something bad happens to start creating guidelines.
- Teach your kids to keep personal information private. It's usually a bad idea to post personal information online such as phone numbers, addresses, and credit cards. If criminals gain access to this information, they can use it to harm you or your family.
- Teach your kids to use social networking sites safely. Sites like Facebook allow kids—and adults—to share photos and videos of themselves, as well as have conversations with friends and strangers. If your kids share something with friends, it's still possible for it to get into the wrong hands. Generally, they should only post something online if they're comfortable with everyone in the world seeing it.
- Encourage your kids to come to you if they encounter a problem. If your child gets into trouble online, you'll want him or her to come to you instead of hiding it. Keep in mind that your kids could accidentally encounter a bad site, even if they're doing everything right.
- Talk to your kids about Internet use. Talk to your kids regularly about how they use the Internet. If they're in the habit of talking to you about the Internet, they'll be more willing to come to you if there's a problem.
OnGuardOnline.gov has videos and other resources you may find helpful. Watch the following video to learn more about talking to your kids about Internet safety.