Internet safety goes way beyond protecting kids from strangers or blocking inappropriate content. It's about helping your kids use the internet productively and practice safe, responsible online behavior — especially when you're not there to answer their questions or check in on where they've ventured. Keep in mind that what may seem like basic knowledge to parents is new to kids just getting started in the digital world. Having a conversation before your kid embarks online helps set expectations and establish ground rules. Here are the basic guidelines to share with your kid:
- Follow your family's rules about when and where to use the internet.
- Be polite, kind, and respectful.
- Understand a website's rules, and know how to flag other users for misbehavior.
- Recognize "red flags," including someone asking you personal questions such as your name and address.
- Never share your name, your school's name, your age, your phone number, or your email or home address with strangers.
- Never send pictures to strangers.
- Keep passwords private (except from parents).
- Never open a message from a stranger; it may contain a virus that can harm a computer.
- Immediately tell an adult if something mean or creepy happens.