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Promoting Innovative, Positive and Safe Internet Use

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HOW TO USE INTERNET SAFELY (A guide for parents)

Learn and Get Involved
Use the Internet with your child. Learn who their friends are, and explore what information they are sharing on their social networking or other websites. If you are unsure about the Internet, ask your children to explain what they know. Attend classes to improve your Internet skills.

Search effectively
Allow your young children Internet access only when you are present. Consider the use of filtering software. See the www.GetNetWise.org  website for more information. However, no filter is foolproof, and your involvement is key. With younger children, use child-friendly search directories like http://www.yahooligans.com  or http://www.ajkids.com  or http://www.kidsclick.org

Evaluate websites
Teach your child how to evaluate information on websites. Because a website looks official, it does not automatically mean that its content is true.

Communicate about the online world
Talk to your children about the things that they may encounter online. Without scaring them, make them aware of web sites with inaccurate or inappropriate content, as well as the fact that people sometimes lie online. Let them know that they can talk to you about anything that makes them upset or uncomfortable, or if they have accidentally accessed something inappropriate. Remind them never to meet anyone they have met online without your permission, and explain the reasons for this.

The Internet as a real world
Teach your child good net-etiquette, and ensure that they understand that the Internet is a real and public space, with real laws and consequences.

What personal information to share
Explore with them what information is appropriate to share on the Internet, and ensure that they do not disclose private information such as home addresses and telephone numbers, schools they attend etc of themselves or their friends.

Responsible sharing
Encourage them to be responsible when posting information (text, video and photos) about themselves or their friends on their Social Networking Site, Instant Messenger or other services. Make sure that they know that information shared online can sometimes be misused.

Good Practice: privacy, passwords, logging off
Ensure that your child adopts safe practices like setting their profiles to private; limiting their online friends to those they well in real-life, keeping their password secret, and logging off after using services like Instant Messenger or Social Networking Sites.

Security and scams
Ensure that the computers in the home have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software. See www.getsafeonline.org  for more information. Encourage your children never to click on offers for freebies, or to open emails, files or web pages from people they do not know, as viruses can be spread unknowingly. They should also know check with you before filling in online forms.

Be present and set boundaries
Keep the computer in a “family” room, where it is easier to keep an eye on Internet use. Also ensure that your children do not become Internet addicts by setting rules about time spent on the Internet. Encouraging their other interests will also help.



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