1. Understand the basics of all the technology and electronic devices that your child is using. Know what technology your child uses, what games they play, which web sites they visit, and with whom they are communicating. For young children, give them an approved list of web sites.
2. Talk to your children about Internet safety. Agree on a set of rules for using the computer and going on the Internet. Surf the web together. Stay involved; your child’s tech and online activity will increase and become more complex as they get older and technology continues to evolve.
3. Ask your child what he is doing, what programs he is using, what sites he’s visiting. Ask him to show you how his tech toys work and what he and his friends do with them.
4. Help your child understand what inappropriate behavior is. If you or your child encounter inappropriate behavior – whether it’s violent games, cyber-bullying, or online predators – don’t just let it go. Act on it, whether it’s talking to your child, bringing the subject up with another child’s parents or reporting it the appropriate authorities.
5. Buy a family computer and keep it in a public place in the home. Encourage your children to regard it as a resource for everyone to use.
6. Never give out personal information over the Internet. Explain to a child that he or she must never give out personal information. Family e-mail addresses, phone numbers, names, birth dates, home addresses, family details, photos, etc. should all be guarded. Although social networking sites ask for and encourage sharing this information, your child should know that protecting his own and his family’s identity should be one of his top priorities.
7. Talk to other parents and school community members about your children’s technology experiences and online safety.