Educate yourself about technology
- Remember that your child can get online in many places – at school, their friends’ house, the library or via smart phones and video game consoles.
- Create a family agreement for Internet use, including when it can be used and which sites can or can’t be accessed.
- Encourage your child to take part in online activities only while in a central, open location, like the living room, so you have some ability to monitor what they’re doing. This ‘house rule’ could apply to laptops, smart phones, video games or other electronic devices.
- Get a good idea of your child’s Internet behaviour. Be a ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ of your child’s social network. Maintain access to your child’s online accounts and randomly check their email and the websites they have visited.
Guide your child online
- Review the sites your child visits.
- Check out software or services – like ones from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) – that filter out offensive material. Use your operating system’s parental controls.
- Create a special folder of “bookmarks,” or “favourites,” for your child on your computer’s browser.
- Discuss with your children what can happen on the Internet – an open line of communication is the best defence against online dangers.
Preserve your family’s privacy
- Think twice before putting photos of your children online.
- Train your children never to give out personal information about anyone, including: names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passwords or credit card numbers. Encourage them to speak up if someone pressures them for this kind of information.
- Teach your children that talking to a stranger on the Internet is no different from talking to a stranger on the street.
- Go through the privacy controls of all websites or online services your child uses to ensure settings are as safe as possible.
Minimize possible risks
- Make sure your child understands the danger of meeting strangers online – they should never arrange to meet them in the real world without your permission.
- Steer young children away from chat rooms, instant messaging and texting. Older children should only participate in these activities with your consent.
- Immediately get to the bottom of texts, phone calls, emails or messages from people you don’t know.
- Educate your child to speak up about online bullying or harassment. An adult they trust needs to know about anything inappropriate or that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Contact the police immediately if your child receives child pornography, is sexually solicited or receives sexually explicit images.