Monday, October 26, 2009

Buying a Computer or Smart Phone for the Kids In Your Life? Some Suggestions to Keep them Safe!

This year promises to be a fantastic year to purchase a computer or smart phone for your kids.  It is a fact that there are bad people online and they are waiting for your kids so they can trick them into giving them information, bully them, or worse.

You can protect your kids when they use their smart phone or a computer at home or away.  I have a few quick tips for how to educate your children so they are safe.

We teach our children to look both ways before they cross the street and not to talk to strangers.  These same lessons you teach them also apply online.
1.    Family Safety Pledge:  I recommend your family create a safety pledge and have everyone sign it.  Post it prominently next to the computer as a reminder.   (See below)
2.    Don’t Talk to Strangers:  People online are strangers.  Do not share personal information with them even if they pretend to know your friends or parents. 
3.    Look Before You Click:  Teach your kids to never click on pop ups, even if it says they just won a prize or money.
4.    Monitor Accounts and Activity:  Tell your kids you will monitor their history, online social networking accounts, usage, and instant messages.
5.    Parental Controls:  You can use your browser or software designed to lock down your home computer.  But, since your kids may be online away from home, the other tips are important.

Please feel free to use our Family Safety Pledge for Smart Phone and Internet use.

Family Safety Pledge
We want to keep our family safe so we are having each family member read this pledge and sign it.

The pledge applies any time you use a smart phone or a  computer.  This rule includes places you may visityou’re your phone or a computer such as blogs, chat rooms, instant messages, email, websites, video and picture sharing sites, and social networking sites. 

1.   Don’t Talk to Strangers: 
a.   Information:  I promise I will not give anyone or any website on the Internet personal information without my parents’ permission. 
b.   Meet:  I will not meet in person anyone that I've met online unless I have permission from my parents.  I understand that my parent will go with me to meet with them in a public place. 
c.   I will not register for free offers, contests, and registering for online clubs without checking with my parents first.

d.   Personal information I will not share online includes:
         my name
         phone numbers
         photos or videos
         my family members’ names
         my school, clubs, sports
         vacation dates, times, locations
2.   Protect Passwords:  I will never give out my password to anyone other than my parents, this includes my friends.
3.   Golden Rule:  I will treat others online with respect and caring.  I will not send mean messages about people or to people. 
4.   Think Before I Click: 
a.   I will not click on emails, links, pop ups from people I do not know.
b.   I will not download files, music, videos, pictures or programs without permission from my parents.  Even if they are free.
c.   I will not buy anything online without my parents’ permission.
d.   Before playing a game online, I will have my parents screen it and give me permission to play.
5.   Chat Carefully:  I will never tell anyone online about my or my family’s whereabouts or that I will be home alone without Mom and/or Dad's permission.

·      I will not enter a chat room without my parents screening it first.


·      I will report to my parents any email, chat room conversations, instant messages or websites that make me feel uncomfortable like bullying, bad language, or X-rated messages and pictures.
·      I know that it is not my fault if I see something bad accidentally and I will not be punished for showing my parents.

I understand that Internet use is a privilege, not a right. I will follow my family's safety pledge for computer and smart phone use whether or not I am in my home or someplace else.
Each Child’s Signature

Parents’ and/or Grandparents’ Signature


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