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The Internet is a system of computers that connects people and information all around the world through millions of web sites. Some are great information sources. Others contain adult images, violence, and demeaning material. Sites can be blocked out using "net patrollers" that scan the content of web sites, blocking out sites that are inappropriate.
Whenever you enter information on the web, it becomes public knowledge. Just because a web site seems safe doesn't mean it is. Anyone can set up their own web sites, so be very careful when putting information about yourself on the web.

Chat Rooms

Chat Rooms let you talk to people over the Internet. You are usually talking to more than one person from more than one place in the world.

Chat rooms are probably the most dangerous spots on the Internet. Never say anything in a chat room that you wouldn't say over the telephone. Never give out your real name or address.

E-Mail

E-mail is letter writing over the Internet. Always use a code name for your e-mail address, especially if you are signing up for an e-mail address over the Internet. Never use your real name. If you ever receive an unwanted e-mail that is threatening, contains vulgar language, or pornographic material, Report it to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If the material seems to be illegal, Report it to the Cyber Tipline at www.missingkids.com/cybertip or call I -800-843-5678.

Newsgroups, Forums, Bulletin Boards

Newsgroups (forums and bulletin boards included) are places where messages can be posted, read, and replied to by many people. Newsgroups are used to answer questions and share information about many topics.

The biggest problem with newsgroups is that once you post something, there's no way to delete it. Never put personal information about yourself on a message you are planning to post. You never know who is reading these messages or what they will do with the information you post.

Rules for Online Safety

  • Never give out personal information
  • Tell someone if you see something that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Never meet online friends without another person. Meet in a public place.
  • Do not answer e-mails that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Remember people on the Internet are not always who they seem to be.
  • Avoid anything that could hurt you or other people.
  • Respect other people's privacy. You are responsible for your behavior.
  • Only give your e-mail address to trusted friends and family members.

 Guidinelines for Parents

  • Never allow your child to give out personal information.
  • Visit the web sites your child uses.
  • Never allow your child to make a face-to-face meeting with someone they meet over the Internet.
  • Never respond to messages that make you or your child feel uncomfortable. Contact your Internet Service Provider.
  • If you find child pornography over the Internet, report it to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
  • Put the computer in a central area to monitor what your child is doing.
  • Know the friends your child makes online.
  • If you're not home when your child is online, install a screening system and/or password.
  • Discuss rules for online safety with your children frequently.
  • Remember that people, not the Internet, should be friends. Restrict its use by putting a password on the connection.
  • Know your child's passwords and e-mail addresses.