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Internet Safety Tips


Safety Tips

Since you may not always be able to watch everything your child does on the computer, most experts recommend installing monitoring software to ensure that you know exactly what your children are doing online.

Place the computer in a common area. It is suggested that your child not have computer in his or her room, or at least no Internet access.

Learn to use the Internet yourself. Experience cyberspace with your child and learn how to check the computer‘s “History” to see what websites your child is visiting.

Key Messages:

  • Spend time with your child on the Internet to demonstrate to his/her proper use.
  • Monitor your child’s computer use and Internet “History.”
  • Establish rules for your child’s Internet use.
  • Never give personal information to someone you do not know.
  • Report any suspected cyber child sexual exploitation to the NCMEC Cyber Tip line.
  • Be careful of any information you post online, including photos, which will be available for anyone to view, forever.
  • Beware of cyber predators!

If you have a profile on a social networking site:

  • Set up profile to Private or Friends Only – otherwise private information can be spread very quickly to known and unknown people.
  • Only add people to your friends list that you already know.
  • Protect your personal information as well as personal information about your friends.
  • If you are too young to be on a site, don’t lie about your age to join.
  • Delete mean or embarrassing comments.
  • Beware of invitations through comments or bulletins to view videos or click on links. They may be attempts to capture your password and introduce a virus.

Tips for youth to stop cyber-bullying:

  • Don’t initiate, respond or forward harmful messages
  • Think first! If something mean is posted or texted about you, don’t respond immediately.
  • Take a break and give yourself time to think through your next step. 
  • Think about your reputation--would you want your grandma, teacher, future employer or someone you don’t know, to see your post?
  • Trust your gut.  If you feel uncomfortable, save the message and tell an adult.

Tips for parents regarding cyber-bullying:

  • Ask your children questions. Maintain an open dialogue.
  • Keep the computer in a common room.
  • Talk about your expectations regarding acceptable online/phone behavior before they receive the privilege.  Behavior online should be the same as what you would do in person or in front of someone you respect.
  • Make agreements and set boundaries about accepted use and behavior for online/phone communication.  Often youth don’t tell parents because they fear losing their technology privileges.
  • Help your child think through how the information they put online reflects on them.
  • Inform youth about legal and future consequences of harmful posing online or by phone.
  • Ask your child to teach you about programs or technologies you don’t understand or of which you don’t have familiarity.
  • Model the behaviors you want to see around phone and internet use.

Remember that anyone can lie online.
A stranger could be a cyber predator if:

  • The stranger asks for your picture.
  • The stranger invites you to view their web cam.
  • The stranger asks if you are alone.
  • The stranger talks about sexual matters.
  • The stranger wants to meet you in person.

If you are thinking about posting your pictures on a public site, think about this:

  • Once you have placed your picture on a public Internet site, it’s out there forever and there is no taking it back.
  • Software manipulation of photographs makes it possible for that photo to be altered and put back on the Internet or traded among child pornographers.
  • Be anonymous:  Don’t give away personal information in your user name or screen name.  Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess (i.e., the name of your pet).

Is Your Computer Protected?

What do you do with email from unknown sources?   Opening an email from an unknown source, particularly if there is an attachment, may introduce a virus that could permanently damage your computer.

Do you post your email on public sites? Spammers can find your email on the Internet and use it send you junk email.

Does it have anti-virus software installed?  Protect your files and computer from virus attacks that can prove disastrous.

Do you have a firewall?  One of the best ways to protect your computer from the ravages of hackers is to install a firewall.

Do you know the dangers of file sharing?  Someone could infect your computer with a virus or access information from your hard drive.  This could be particularly devastating if financial information is stored on the computer.

Do you forward emails from unknown sources?  You may think you are being helpful, but by forwarding the email, but you have just provided your friend’s email address to an unknown source.  And, if there is an attachment, you may have forwarded a virus.

Do you disconnect the Internet when it’s not in use?  This is the best way to prevent anyone from using the Internet’s “two-way street” to get into your computer.

Social networking sites include Face Book, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.



Many view piracy and plagiarism as stealing.  Illegal downloading of movies and music can have serious consequences.  Just as stealing a CD or DVD from a store is wrong, so is stealing online. 

There is an area of the law called Intellectual Properties. Learn about it.  Copying information from the Internet can be illegal and there are risks.


Emails from unknown sources may contain attachments that introduce viruses that permanently damage your computer.  Forwarding emails from unknown sources can reveal your friend’s email address to the sender and possibly infect your friend’s computer with a virus.

File sharing can lead to a virus or provide access to information contained on your hard drive.

Installing a firewall can help protect your computer from the problems created by hackers.

Anti-Virus software can help protect your files.

Disconnecting your Internet when not in use is the best way to prevent anyone from using the Internet’s “two way street” to get into your computer.

Posting your email address on public sites allows spammers to find it and send you junk mail.

Remember: Your first and best line of defense is self-defense in cyberspace.

Note to Parents: There are many organizations and activities in which your child may be involved that post information online in public locations. It is extremely important for you to pre-approve any information about your child that will be posted for the world to see. Remember, cyber predators are looking, too.


Reporting Child Sexual Exploitation: If an incident occurs in which you feel your child is a victim of online solicitation for sexual acts, sextortion, or child pornography, PLEASE report the incident to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC).

The NCMEC’s Cyber Tip line is operated in partnership with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, military criminal investigative organizations, U.S. Department of Justice, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program, as well as other state and local law enforcement agencies. Reports to the Cyber Tip line are made by the public and Electronic Service Providers (ESP). ESPs are required by law to report apparent child pornography to law enforcement via the Cyber Tip line (18 U.S.C. § 2258A).

Reports are continuously triaged to help ensure that children in imminent danger get first priority. Analysts review reports and:

  • Examine and evaluate the content.
  • Add related information that may be useful to law enforcement.
  • Use publicly available search tools to determine the geographic location of the apparent criminal act.
  • Provide all information to the appropriate law enforcement agency for potential investigation.

The Cyber Tip line reporting mechanism assists law enforcement and prosecutors in their detection, investigation and prosecution of child sexual exploitation crimes. The Cyber Tip line helps make law enforcement’s efforts more efficient and maximizes the limited resources available in the fight against child sexual exploitation. The value of the Cyber Tip line as a source of leads for law enforcement has been greatly enhanced by collaboration with ESPs.

In addition to referring Cyber Tip line reports to law enforcement for potential investigation, the NCMEC engages with the Internet industry on voluntary initiatives to reduce child sexual exploitation online.