Stardoll's Online Security Guide for Parents & Teachers

As in the real world you need to teach your child how to avoid risks and how to handle different situations. We encourage you to set up your own rules together with your child on how to use the Internet. By taking responsibility for your children's online computer use, parents can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online. Our experience is that many of our young users are very aware of the ethics on the Internet and react when someone breaks against the rules. Please raise your child to become a good online citizen, to help us keep this a safe environment. Make it a family rule to:


  • Get to know the Internet and any services your child uses. Have your child show you what he or she does online, and become familiar with all the activities that are available online. Find out if your child has a free web-based email account, and learn their user names and passwords.


  • Don't be too critical towards your child's exploration of the Internet. Children may come across adult material by accident on the Web. If a child intentionally searches for such web sites, remember that it is natural for children to be curious about off-limits material. Try to use this as an opening to discuss the content with them, and perhaps make rules for this kind of activity. Be realistic in your assessment of how your child uses the Internet.


  • Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information in a public message such as chat or newsgroups, and be sure you're dealing with someone both you and your children know and trust before giving out this information via email. Do not post photographs chat rooms or on web sites that are available to the public. Adults should understand that the Internet could be a positive meeting place for children, where they can get to know other children and make new friends. However, to avoid unpleasant experiences, it is important that children do not meet strangers they have met on the net without being accompanied by an adult, friends or others they trust. In any case, the child should always have their parents' approval first.


  • Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable. Encourage your children to tell you if they encounter such messages. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy of the message to your ISP, and ask for their assistance. Instruct your child not to click on any links that are contained in e-mail from persons they don't know. Such links could lead to sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate web sites or could be a computer virus. If someone sends you or your children messages or images that are filthy, indecent, lewd, or obscene with the intent to abuse annoy, harass, or threaten you, or if you become aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography while online immediately report this to the NCMEC's CyberTipline at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.

  • Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children.
    Discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder.
    Remember to monitor your children's compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. A child's excessive use of online services or the Internet, especially late at night, may be a clue that there is a potential problem. Remember that personal computers and online services should not be used as electronic babysitters.


  • Check out blocking, filtering, and ratings applications together. Be sure to make this a family activity. Consider keeping the computer in a family room rather than the child's bedroom. Get to know their online friend's just as you get to know all of their other friends. If your child has a cellular telephone, talk with him or her about using it safely. The same rules that apply to computer use, also apply to cellular telephones.


  • Teach your child about source criticism on the net. Most children use the Internet to improve and develop knowledge in relation to schoolwork and personal interests. Net users should be aware that not all information found online is correct. Educate children on how to verify information they find by comparing to alternative sources on the same topic. Remember that everything you read online may not be true. Any offer that's too good to be true probably is. Be careful about any offers that involve you going to a meeting, having someone visit your house, or sending money or credit-card information.


  • * Encourage good Netiquette. Nequette is the informal code of conduct for the Internet. As in everyday life, there are informal ethical rules for how to behave when relating to other people on the Internet. These include being polite, using correct language and not yell at (write in capital letters) or harass others. Also, children as well as grown up's should not read others email or copy protected material.


  • Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives. Internet is an excellent educational and recreational resource for children. Encourage your child to be conscious and explore the Internet to its full potential. (These tips are based on tips from American www.safekids.com and from European www.saftonline.org, Safety Awareness, Facts and Tools). At National Center for Missing and Exploited Children you will find more useful information regarding online safety and how to report Child Pornography or Suspected Child Sexual Exploitation.


  • Kids rules for online safety (print out and put up close to your computer at home) www.safekids.com/family-contract-for-online-safety


  • Stardoll suggests you check the following links for more information regarding Kids' Safety and Privacy Online:

- Google's Family Safety Center and Safe Search: www.google.com
- Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov
- On Guard Online: www.onguardonline.gov
- CEOP's "Think you know" campaign pages: thinkuknow
- Vodafone's parents page: www.parents.vodafone.com
- Family Online Safety Institute's Platform for Good
- InS@fe's New Resource for Parents: The Digital Universe of Your Children Family

Other resources: www.inhope.org and/or www.saferinternet.org.

The top 10 myths of online safety:

www.saferinternet.org

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