#1 Take the trip together. Take the time to see what your kids are doing online and what their interests are. If you don’t know how to log on, get your child to show you.
#2 Teach kids never to give out their personal information to people they meet online, especially in public places like chat rooms and bulletin boards.
#3 Instruct your child never to plan a face-to-face meeting alone with online acquaintances without your permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public place and be sure to accompany your child.
#4 Tell your child not to respond when they receive offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat, or other communications that make them feel uncomfortable.
If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy to your Internet service provider and ask for their assistance.
#5 Remind children that people online may not be who they seem. Someone indicating that “she” is a “12-year-old girl” could in reality be a 40-year-old man.
#6 Be very careful about any offers that involve you coming to a meeting, having someone visit your house, or sending money or credit card information.
#7 Establish clear ground rules with your kids for Internet use — and consequences for breaking them. Decide whether or not to use parental control tools or protective software.
#8 Limit the amount of time children spend online. Don’t let the Internet take the place of non-virtual chatting, reading, game-playing and exploring.
#9 Place your computer in the family room or another open area of your home where the entire family can see it, monitor the activity, and use it. This increases the likelihood of communication and discussion over computer issues.
#10 Don’t be afraid of bringing this new resource into your home but be informed about its benefits, risks, and role in your life.