Since many students also use the Internet at home, school officials should provide parents with information about digital citizenship. A combined, concerted effort between parents and school employees can better protect students from cyber predators and dangers – on and off school grounds. Parents can best protect their families from online dangers by learning computer and Internet skills that will enable them to participate in their children’s Internet learning and activities. Communication between parent and child is a key component of online safety. Children should know they can discuss with their parents their concerns, questions and fears about the Internet. Parents should tell their children to report any obscene or threatening messages they receive online.
Parents should send the offensive messages to their Internet provider company, which may be able to track the message’s source. In addition, children should report to their parents any person they meet online who makes them uncomfortable or asks questions of a personal nature.
Monitoring a child’s computer use can dramatically decrease the risk of online problems and dangers. Parents should place their computer in an area of the home where they can view its screen openly at any time. In addition, parents should prohibit their children from using the computer for long periods of time, especially late at night
Parents may want to consider using filtering software, or perhaps, they would rather discuss with their children the differences between inappropriate and appropriate materials online. Children may be prohibited from using chat rooms or other online services that allow them to correspond with others. If children do use e-mail or other features, parents should investigate unfamiliar or questionable messages. This also can be monitored by carefully viewing any strange telephone or modem billing charges received each month.
Parents should know their children’s online friends, just as they do their neighborhood friends. Parents should especially be concerned if their children begin to mention adults who they do not know as a family. If a child becomes secretive about his or her online activities or begins mentioning details of a mature nature, this can indicate the child may be having an inappropriate relationship online.
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