By Sharon Housley
Parents are constantly struggling with ways to keep their children safe online. The Internet has a global reach and at this point no bounds, or limitations. Outside of installing filtering software children should be educated in order to protect themselves to this virtual monster. We've put together a collection of ten tips that should be observed while surfing online. At the very least these tips will prompt family discussions regarding safety.
1.) When on the internet personal information should be kept private. Just because someone asks doesn't mean you need to tell them. When someone asks for personal information, consider how they might use that information and whether it is necessary for them to have it.
2.) If you are conversing with someone online, don't assume that they are being honest with you. Just because they say they're 16 doesn't mean they are.
3.) Do not release your password to anyone, even if they say they are from your online provider.
4.) Overall it is best not to respond to unsolicited e-mail (SPAM), if there is something flagrant or inappropriate in the e-mail, consider reporting the sender to their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
5.) Do not give out or post identifying information, including address or telephone numbers.
6.) You may want to create a nickname for a screen name in chat rooms.
7.) Keep in mind when posting in chat rooms or newsgroups, that there may be lurkers (people who read but do not post). Your information can be read and seen by all.
8.) Keep an open dialogue with children surfing the Internet, remember if they come to you with a problem, your first reaction should not be to take away the Internet. Applaud child's confidence in confiding in you and work together to find a solution.
9.) Overall it is not a good idea to post or exchange pictures over the Internet
10.) Try to keep in mind the Internet is global and is *not* governed by any entity. This means that there are no limitations or checks on the information posted and accessible to Internet users.