Surfing the internet can be fun and full of great learning opportunities. Fortunately, doing it safely is just a click away.

Begin by establishing rules and by signing a family internet use contract together. Encourage children to share their online experiences. Surf with them while explaining what content is appropriate and what is not acceptable.

  • Select a family-friendly internet service provider that offers and supports parental controls and that will act promptly to reports of online abuse.
  • Customize your computer’s default search engine with a family-friendly search engine. Create additional blocks and filters by using the engine’s preferences or options tools. Be specific in your searches to reduce the risk of viewing undesirable sites. Use additional terms like and, not and or to refine searches.
  • Add approved sites to your browser’s favorites. Encourage your family to use these to access web sites.
  • Ensure the rules extend to cell phones and internet use away from home.
  • Invest in an anti-virus program, firewall, spam blocker and anti-spyware technology. Keep these regularly updated to ensure they continue to protect as new technologies evolve.
  • Place computers in a high traffic room where use can be observed. Establish rules for web camera use.
  • Teach your family that plagiarism is cheating. Pirating music, software and games is stealing.
  • Remain as anonymous as possible when on the internet. Never give out your address, phone number, school name or other personal information. Limit data you give out in contests and surveys.
  • Become an advocate. Report inappropriate, frightening or criminal behavior.
  • Encourage your family to use other sources of information in addition to the internet.