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Knowledge Is Power: How to Help Kids Avoid Internet's Dangers

The rapid changes in technology make Internet safety for kids more challenging. Here's how to help keep kids safe.

The World Wide Web provides information that entertains, informs and is sometimes accurate but sometimes misleading. Information can also be propaganda and alluring. Young Internet users need to be aware of the potentially harmful consequences from visiting certain sites and need to keep in mind tips and habits that prevent personal information and safety from being compromised.

Here's what to keep in mind when using the Internet: 

1.  Don’t share your 411.  Information to protect: your phone number, address, full name, passwords, name of your school. Once that information is shared, you have no control over who gets it. 

2.   Ignore advertisements.  Nothing is free. You are NOT a winner. If something flashes and moves and announces it, you are not a winner. It’s a trick to get information that can be sold.

3.  When using social networks, be very careful. If you don’t know someone in person, there is “stranger danger.”  Don’t agree to meet.

4.  Don’t download files from people you don’t know. Often there is the potential for a virus that can corrupt your computer.

5.  Think before you post. You can remove pictures that you’ve posted, but it’s never gone. Posting information with friends seems safe, but friends don’t always remain friends.  Information/images that you post could be used against you in the future.

6.  Use 'Netiquette.  Show respect for teachers and students. Don’t hurt people’s feelings.  Respect the privacy of others.  Show differences of opinion politely.

Parents should establish Internet safety rules in the home early. Contact your Internet provider for restrictions and privacy controls. Keep computers with Internet access in a family room so that computer use is visible. Knowing your child’s passwords and visited sites also helps monitoring easier. 

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