Protecting Children Online
Although screening software designed to block objectionable materials is available and agencies such as the Attorney General's Office are engaging in more sophisticated enforcement, parents must still take an active role in protecting their children from pornographic materials and online predators.
The following is a list of tips designed to help protect your child on the Internet:
- Place your home computer in a central location, such as a family room, to make it easier to monitor what your child is accessing.
- Keep track of how much time your child is spending online.
- Log your child onto the Internet yourself and keep the password a secret.
- Ask your Internet Service Provider about blocking services that prevent your child from accessing bulletin boards and Web sites that you find objectionable.
- Look into stand-alone blocking or filtering software, which can be downloaded over the Internet or purchased inexpensively at retail software stores.
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer, and do not allow your child to download files and programs untrusted websites without your permission.
- Watch for computer files that end in .gif, .gl, .bmp, .png, .tiff or .jpg, which are likely to be picture files.
- Instruct your child not to provide their, or other family member’s, any personal information without your permission. Advise your child not to use his or her full name when online.
- Beware of special interest chat rooms and bulletin boards with suspicious sounding names. Warn your child about strangers who attempt to set up personal meetings.
- Encourage your child to tell you if he or she encounters anything online that makes him or her feel uncomfortable or frightened.