Online Safety

Top 10 Tips for Parents
  1. Establish an atmosphere of trust, understanding, and mutual education in discussing family guidelines for internet use.  See the "Net cetera guide: Chatting with kids about being online."
  2. 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.
  3. Consider using internet filtering software to block inappropriate material (but don’t count on it.)
  4. Check the history of sites visited (but don’t count on it.)
  5. Ask your child to identify the people on his/her friend lists, contact lists, and text messaging bills.
  6. Teach your child to end any experience online when he or she feels uncomfortable (close the program), and discuss what  happened with an adult.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Parents should have usernames & passwords for young childrens’ accounts and check them occasionally (email, texts, instant-messenger, social networking sites)
  10. Be aware of all the risks, but keep them in perspective.

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
  1. Guard your privacy. What people know about you is up to you.
  2. Protect your reputation. Self-reflect before you self-reveal. What’s funny or edgy today could cost you tomorrow.
  3. Nothing is private online. Anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your permission.
  4. Assume everyone is watching. There’s a huge, vast audience out there. If someone is your friend’s friend, they can see everything.
  5. Apply the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.
  6. Choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate. You know what we mean.
  7. Don't hide. Using anonymity to cloak your actions doesn’t turn you into a trustworthy, responsible person.
  8. Think about what you see. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true.
  9. Be smart, be safe. Not everyone is who they say they are. But you know that.

Suggestions and Resources for Parents

Good Websites For More Information
  • Children Online is a site devoted to keeping children and teens safe online. It has several good resources including research on the use of Internet and Cell Phone Behavior of Students
  • CommonSense Media has reviews of computer games, movies, TV shows, music, apps, websites, and books)

Home Internet Filters

Television Shows
“Growing Up Online” on Frontline at:

Government Resources
The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center has resources related to bullying and online bullying.
Onguard Online” is the federal government site for online safety. They publish the "Net Cetera" guide.

Facebook for Parents

Recent Articles About Social Media
Cracking Teenagers’ Online Codes
Seeing Social Media More as Portal Than as Pitfall