Online Safety for Children and Teens

NationalCenterForMissingChildrenImage.jpgNational Center For Missing & Exploited Children. If you have encountered any form of ON-LINE sexual exploitation of children, we strongly encourage you to report it here.

The internet can be a wonderful world of education of education for all of us, but for children, exploring the internet can lead to unexpected dangers. 

Below are several important "tips" for parents to help safeguard your children:

  • Get informed about computers and the Internet. Let your children show you what they can do online, and visit their favorite sites.
  • Keep the computer in an open, common area of your home. Be aware of any other computers your child may be using.    
  • Always read a web site's privacy policy before giving any personal information. Also make sure that a web site offers a secure connection before giving credit-card information. Talk to children about what personal information is and why you should never give it to people online.
  • If your children use chat or E-mail, talk to them about never meeting in person with anyone they first "met" online. Know who your children are exchanging E-mail with, and only let them use chat areas when you can supervise. 
  • Talk to your children about not responding to offensive or dangerous E-mail, chat, or other communications. Report any such communication to local law enforcement. Do not delete the offensive or dangerous E-mail; turn off the monitor, and contact local law enforcement.
  • Clear, simple, easy-to-read house rules should be posted on or near the computer. The rules should include the time of day that children may be online, the length of time they may be online, whom they may communicate with while online, and appropriate areas for them to visit while online.
  • Look into safeguarding programs or options your online service provider might offer. These may include monitoring or filtering capabilities.
  • Internet accounts should be in the parent's name with parents having the primary screenname, controlling passwords, and using blocking and/or filtering devices. Children should not complete a profile for a service provider and children's screennames should be nondescript so as not to identify that the user is a child.
  • If you suspect online "stalking" or sexual exploitation of a child, report it to your local law-enforcement agency. You may also report online via the CyberTipline® or 1-800-843-5678.  The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has a system for identifying online predators and child pornographers and contributing to law-enforcement investigations. Leads forwarded to the site will be acknowledged and shared with the appropriate law-enforcement agency for investigation.