Project Appleseed

What You Need

To Know: Internet Safety For Children

The advent of the Internet over the last decade has opening up worlds of information and opportunity for people of all ages. But while the internet serves to open new doors of communication and learning, it is also an increasingly dangerous place for children. As younger children become more technologically savvy – sometimes more savvy than their parents – they can fall prey to internet predators, internet bullying and online scams.

Project Appleseed

You can’t always be looking over your child’s shoulder while he or she surfs the web, but you can take a few steps to make your child smarter and safer when it comes to the world wide web:

  • Educate your child. First and foremost, make certain that your child understands the dangers of the internet. While you don’t have to get into details regarding sexual predators or internet scammers, you can explain that the internet allows people to take advantage of others, lie about their identity, and break the law. In addition, educate your child about the positive aspects of the internet.


  • Make screen time public and limited. Place your family computer in a common area, such as a family room or kitchen, with the monitor facing into the room. Limit screen time and emphasizes the importance of other activities.


  • Protect their personal information. Explain to your child that anything put on the internet – from a phone number to a picture to an address – is very likely public information. The majority of cases in which children are harmed online begin with kids sharing personal information with strangers.


  • Look for warning signs. If you think that your child may be engaging in dangerous internet activity, look for the signs: too much time spent online, pornography on your child’s computer, strange phone calls for your child or strange numbers on your phone bill, your child does not use the computer while you are in the room or quickly switches screens when you arrive, your child becomes withdrawn.


  • Learn from your child. Sit down at the computer with your child and have them show you their favorite website, forums, and destinations. Just like in life off of the web, the more familiar you are with where they go, the more likely you are to spot a problem when one appears.


  • Give your child the NEVERS: never give personal information online, never download files from an unknown source, and never agree to meet someone in person that you met online.


  • Use parent controls. Most internet services provide controls that allow parents to block and monitor potentially dangerous websites. You may also buy similar software and install it on your home computer.


  • For younger children, monitor their accounts. While older children will need a greater amount of trust and privacy, younger children should have their emails, chats, and social networking pages monitored on occasion for inappropriate usage, signs of bullying, and other dangers. Many recommend that children should not be allowed in chat rooms with strangers at all.


Written by Elliott Shostak for Project Appleseed