• Parent Internet Safety Tips

         The Internet is a great tool and serves many purposes, but with the Internet there are many flaws with safety and protecting your loved ones.

         Internet safety is a rising concern with social networking sites such as Facebook and chat rooms. It is very important to take precautions, because one never knows who is on the other end of the computer your son or daughter maybe talking to. Pedophiles and drug dealers are just a couple types of people that are constantly on the Internet searching for children to lure in as their next victim.

         As a parent, it is best to take as many precautions as possible to protect your children when dealing with the Internet. Monitor the websites your child is visiting along with their profiles if they have an account with Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Do you know what information he/she has listed about him or herself? Does it list where they live? CHECK. Children have a mindset that they are invisible and nothing will happen to them.

         Remember, anyone can see the information and pictures, unless the profile is set to private. Make sure there is NO personal information listed including: the school they attend, hometown, age and so forth.  As for pictures, make sure the pictures don't have license plates, names of schools, town names, or team mascots. If any of the information is listed, it makes it that much easier to figure out where the child is located. Remember pedophiles, employers, and schools are constantly checking the Internet.

         Suggestions on Internet safety would be to set the parental settings on the computer, monitor the child's activity, put the computer in an open area and not in the bedroom, check on the child frequently, setup an antivirus and spam blacker. As a parent, you could have the child ask you to approve any popup that may occur, because computers and repairs are often expensive.

         Check their profile account on Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, etc while they are logged in, check what information they have listed about themselves, look at his/her pictures, check his/her friends' profiles and pictures, and what is in the background of those pictures (license plates, school name, etc). The Internet is also an easy way to obtain drugs too.

         Look to see if you recognize their friends. If you don't recognize their friends and ask how they know them, look at the messages being sent and received to see if they are appropriate. When they are not logged in, try to see if you can find their profile. You can do this by using GoogIe.com or Facebook.com under search. If you can locate their profile, click their profile to see if you can view the profile and pictures posted. If you can view their profile and pictures, they need to change their PROFILE setting AND PICTURE setting to private. Remember you paid for the computer and for the electricity.

         By taking simple steps, it can help protect not only you and your family's privacy and safety, but also protect your computer. A few things to consider are: keep your passwords private, protect your personal information, beware of scams, don't trade pictures with people you don't know, don't respond to messages that make you uncomfortable, don't get together with someone you've met on the Internet, and be a responsible Internet user. Use the Internet wisely and always remember to protect yourself.

         Listed below are some Internet resources you may find useful in helping protect your child from harmful materials on the Internet. They are as follows: