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Top 10 Tips for Parents
- Establish an atmosphere of trust, understanding, and mutual education in discussing family guidelines for internet, technology, and cell phone use.
- Know what your child is doing online: Consider keeping computers in family areas rather than bedrooms and check regularly to see what your child is doing online; consider spending time online with your child to learn about his or her online interests and activities; understand social networking sites and know whether your child is using them.
- Consider using Internet filtering software to block inappropriate material (but don’t count on it.)
- Check the history of sites visited (but don’t count on it.)
- Ask your child to identify the people on his/her friend lists, contact lists, and text messaging bills.
- Teach your child to end any experience online when he or she feels uncomfortable (close the program), and discuss what happened with an adult.
- Teach your child to never give out personal information unless he or she has your permission and you know how and by whom the information will be used.
- Teach you child that they should never meet with a person that they have met online, even if in a public place, unless you are present.
- Parents should have user names & passwords for young children's’ accounts and check them occasionally (email, texts, instant-messenger, social networking sites.)
- When you provide a cell phone for your child, be clear that YOU own the phone and that it is not a private tool of the child.
- Teach your child that nothing posted online is truly private, ever.
- Be aware of all the risks, but keep them in perspective.
- Eat dinner together as a family without any digital devices.
Guidelines for Children
- Don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to someone in person.
- If you’re annoyed, hands off the keyboard.
- Know that words can be easily misinterpreted without other communication cues.
- Kindness counts and manners matter.
- Passwords are like underwear: Don’t show it, don’t share it, and change it often.
- Online friendships should support, not replace, in-person friendships.
Commonsense Media Guidelines
- Guard your privacy. What people know about you is up to you.
- Protect your reputation. Self-reflect before you self-reveal. What’s funny or edgy today could cost you tomorrow.
- Nothing is private online. Anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your permission.
- Assume everyone is watching. There’s a huge, vast audience out there. If someone is your friend’s friend, they can see everything.
- Apply the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.
- Choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate. You know what we mean.
- Don't hide. Using anonymity to cloak your actions doesn’t turn you into a trustworthy, responsible person.
- Think about what you see. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true.
- Be smart, be safe. Not everyone is who they say they are.