Protect children from harmful material and people on the Internet

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Child on the InternetSome web pages and content on the Internet are not suitable for all audiences. Below is a listing of different steps you can do to help ensure your child is protected from harmful material or web pages you believe are not suitable for your children.

Talk

Talk to your children about the dangers of the Internet and what they should not do while on the Internet. Below is a basic listing of what you may consider discussing with your child.

  • Personal Information - Never share personal information about yourself in chat rooms, on web pages, or with online forms. Examples of personal information include age, physical description, selfies, phone numbers, e-mail and webcam addresses, usernames, or location related information. Additionally, information like passwords, Internet Service Provider name, where you attend school, and your grade, should not be shared.
  • Never meet someone - Never agree to meet an individual from the Internet without the parents or guardian at the agreed meeting location.
  • Internet Purchases - Never enter an area that costs money, requires a credit card, requires personal information, asks for passwords, or requires you hang up and dial another number without permission from a parent.
  • Downloads - Never accept a file or download from another user.
  • Web page - Do not visit web pages that are sent to you in e-mail, chat, or instant messengers without a parent or guardian present.
  • Gifts - Never accept any gift from users you meet online.
  • Friends - Don't give out your friends information as it could be tied to you.
  • Personal pictures - Never send someone a personal picture online or on a cell phone.
  • Talking about sex or provocative images - When online don't talk about sex, post provocative images, or tease other people online.
  • Talk to you - If your child ever witnesses something that upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable, make sure they know it's ok to talk with you.

Monitor use

Monitor or browse the Internet with your kids and try to keep the computer in an open area. Don't allow your child to have their own computer in their own room. If you need to monitor your children's use while you're away consider a third-party filter to protect your computer from inappropriate sites. See the Internet filters section for a listing of these programs.

Note: With mobile devices like smartphones and tablets it can be more difficult to monitor your child's use on the Internet. To help protect them on these devices consider disabling Wi-Fi during the night or having all charging cables in a public place like the kitchen.

If you are using a new version of Windows, we highly recommend trying the Family Safety program included with Windows. Older versions of Windows running Microsoft Internet Explorer can also protect their family from harmful material by enabling Internet Explorer Content Advisor.

View Internet History

Make sure your child is not viewing appropriate pages by looking at the Internet browser's history or make sure they are not deleting the history to hide what they are viewing.

Look at the browser address bar or location bar for additional information about what was typed in the browser address bar.

View IM buddies

If your computer has an Instant Messenger program such as MSN, make sure that their friend list or buddy list doesn't have anyone you have not met or know goes to your child's school.

Social networking sites

Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are a very popular amongst younger users on because they allow them to communicate with friends and make new ones over the Internet. Unfortunately, these locations are also frequently visited by online predators because of online pictures and personal information posted by many of users participating on them. If you allow your children to use these sites, make sure they are not posting personal information about themselves as mentioned earlier in this document. We also strongly encourage that parents or the child who set up the account set their profile to private so only their friends and family can view the profile.

Become their friend

It's also a good idea that if your child is on a social networking site that you do the same and become their friend. Doing this is a great way to see what your child is doing and posting.

Know the lingo

The Internet is full of acronyms, lingo, codes, and other terms that can be used to disguise what is being said. See the top 10 terms every parent should know for commonly used terms and codes and links to further information.

Disable webcams

If your computer has any digital camera or webcam connected to it prohibit your child from using it without your presence or disconnect or disable it when you're not using it.

Watch school websites

Watch your child's school web page for any personal information about your kids such as pictures of a student, full name, address, etc. This information can be found using search engines if a predator knows your child's full name, school, or grade.

Protect them in games

Many children and adults play online games. Just like the Internet children should not give out any personal information to other players or trade in-game items for in-game services or real life personal information.

Additional information