The internet is a wonderful tool for both children and adults to use to learn, grow and meet people from all parts of the world, but like all tools, it must be used properly. 95% of the people you meet on the internet will be wonderful, great people
who can teach you about their culture, society or the net in general. Unfortunately, there is that 5% that must be watched and looked out for. It is highly recommended that parents and children surf the internet together, particularly when first starting out. The internet
can be another wonderful sharing experience for a family. Parents, always monitor what your child is doing and where they are going on the internet.
- Never give out personal information: This includes you and/or your parents information.
Never give out either of your names, address, e-mail, age, city or even the state in which you live.
While the internet can be very anonymous to beginners, experts can and will track you and find out who you are
based on information you give them.
- Obey Netiquette: Netiquette is the unofficial rules or "manners" controlling conduct on the internet.
These rules are too numerous to mention here, but a complete listing may be found at: The Complete Netiquette Site.
- Obey Warning Signs: If a website warns that you must be of a certain age to view it's contents, obey the warning.
If you proceed, your visit is logged into records and you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
- Be Wary of What You Sign up for: There are many chances to sign up for things on the internet. From mailing lists about
your favorite musical group to chances to win prizes. However, many of these contests are aimed only at getting your personal information. Always
ask your parents to look over anything before you sign up for it.
- Be Wary of Chat Rooms: Unmoderated youth chat rooms are havens for people looking to prey on children, always be careful never to give out any information about yourself or your family.
Remember that when that person says they are a 12 year old girl, you have no way of knowing that is true. There are some wonderful moderated chatrooms on the internet where you can chat under screen names to meet people
from different cultures. These chatroom moderators do not allow you to give out any personal information which could be used to find you. They also insure that the topics discussed will be areas which everyone can be
comfortable with. Always pick your places to chat with your parents approval.
- Never meet anyone face to face: While I know it is very tempting to want to meet someone face to face after chatting with them, the rule here is never do it. Again, you can never be sure that the person
you are going to meet is who they say they are. If anyone suggests this to you, no matter how much you have chatted with them, always tell your parents.
- Do not give out passwords: Never give out your passwords or your parents passwords to anyone. Many hackers (people who illegally break into computer systems) use these passwords to destroy entire computer systems.
If anyone asks you for your password, tell your parents immediately.
- Do not send pictures: This will tell people what you look like and may let them know who you are, a prospect that can extremely dangerous. To go even further, once the picture is sent, that person can then post your picture
anywhere they want on the internet. You have no idea where your picture may end up.
- Something for nothing: Be very wary when someone or some site offers you something for nothing, generally they are only looking for your personal information. Again, always have your parents look
over anything before you sign up.
- If it feels uncomfortable: If something someone says, does or behaves in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, leave that place immediately. One of the wonderful things about the net is that you have complete control over where
you go and when. If someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable, just click to another site or simply close your connection to the internet.