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  • Internet Cell Phone Safety Tips for Parents


    Educate yourself, then your child.

    Banning a child from certain sites may motivate them to spend more time on them. Kids can go online in places where you have no control. Talk to children about how to be safe in life and online. Talk about the dangers of posting personal information, and talk about how people who are online may not actually be who they claim to be. This rule also applies to cell phones.

    Teach children the obvious rules.

    Tell your children NOT to post their photos on the Internet or provide their names, addresses, phone numbers, schools or other personal information. Once online, there is no way to know where a picture has gone, and it is impossible to get it back. Pictures can be manipulated and can be saved by sex offenders. 

    Install an Internet filter of family safety software.

    Software with tools like time management, remote monitoring and reporting and keystroke recognition is an effective way to filter dangerous content. Consult your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for information. Some ISP's have filters for purchase and some provide them for free. Visit a local electronics or computer store to examine and purchase a filtering software program or research and order a filtering package package online. Choose one that is best for your family. Safety features are also available for cell phones. Visit mymobilewatchdog.com. External Link Icon

    Know the dangers associated with sites your children frequent.

    It is important to talk to your child about the dangers associated with social networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace or Runescape. Communicating is the most important thing you can do. You may control your child's environment at home, but that control can be lost when they’re away. Communicating and helping your child understand the dangers online is our most important message. 

    Talk with your children about encountering pornography.

    Teach your child that if they encounter pornography to quickly turn the power off and get an adult. This can prevent a child from attempting to stop the situation by clicking more buttons, thereby spreading the attack and being exposed to more pornography.

    Talk with your child about the dangers of pornography and how it can become an addiction. Many teenagers are becoming addicted and obsessed with viewing pornography. Pornography addiction can become just as dangerous as an addiction to drugs. It can lead to boundary issues and worse. 

    Manage your child’s time on the Internet and cell phones.

    Scheduling times when a child can go online, and setting limits on time spent, ensures you know when they are on the Internet and for how long. By setting these guidelines, you reduce the likelihood your child will be exposed to inappropriate content. Many children use their phone to text message late at night. We have found many children even sleep with their cell phone. Consider having your child check the phone in at a certain time each night.

    Set Internet guidelines and enforce consequences if they are not followed.

    Establishing guidelines ensures children know what is expected of them while using the Internet and that there are consequences if they break the rules. If you enforce consequences consistently, children will be more likely to follow the rules. 

    Keep computers out of children’s bedrooms.

    If you place the computer in a more open room, one the family commonly uses, children will be less inclined to view and access unacceptable material. Based on conversations with children in Jefferson County, we have learned that 65 percent have online access in their bedrooms.

    Create a relationship with your child that fosters trust and open communication.

    Open communication and trust is the key. Many times parents overreact. If your child comes to you about pornography on the computer or about being approached by a stranger, they should be applauded. Many parents immediately react out of fear and love. They tell their child they cannot go to that specific site or prohibit Internet use altogether; this defeats all trust and closes the door to communication.

    If you don’t understand the Internet, a website or a game site, ask your child to show you.

    Who likes to show off their skills and knowledge about the Internet to adults? Our children. You also are accomplishing other things when you ask for your child's help. You are spending valuable one-on-one time with them, communicating with your child and learning where they go and what they do online. 

    Compromise; Communicate.

    Teenagers are attracted to Facebook, MySpace and similar sites, but many parents don’t allow their children to visit these sites. The First Judicial District Attorney's Office recognizes this is a tough decision to make. Please know that if a child is determined to be on a site, they WILL find a way. They can access these sites from friend's homes and other places.

    Parents should also know that some teenagers have two different accounts: one for mom and dad and another for their friends. During Internet safety classes, we warn teenagers that if they can't show mom and dad their account, they are probably putting themselves in harms way. 

    We suggest children set their account settings to private and limit who can access their account. We also teach them to be careful about putting personal information (No. 2 tip) in the account.

    If you are communicating online with someone you don't know in person, you are talking to a stranger. The person may seem friendly, but he or she is potentially dangerous. Never give personal information in this situation. 

    Video games and game sites.

    Many children and teenagers frequent popular online game sites, including Disney Club Penguin View exit disclaimer policy page for links to third-party websites. and Runescape. View exit disclaimer policy page for links to third-party websites. These are fun and attractive sites that feature games and allow kids to communicate with others who are playing. We tell children and teens if they choose to communicate with others, talk only about the game. If someone asks a child for their age, name, where they live or any other personal information, THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GAME, and the child should end the conversation immediately.

    The Internet is here to stay. It is filled with good information and can be a great learning tool; it can also be a dangerous place. It’s our job as parents and guardians to teach our children to use the Internet responsibly.

    The First Judicial District Attorney's Office is committed to helping keep children and teens safe online.

    Consejos de Seguridad para la Internet y Teléfonos Celulares 

    Last Updated: 4-19-2013