Internet Safety – Cyberproofed?
The internet has become a valuable communication, research, and entertainment tool for many people in our community. Along with the countless number of benefits that the internet offers to both youth and adults, there are also many dangers present in cyberspace. The Chatham-Kent Police Service is taking a proactive approach to the growing concern of internet safety and aims to make every citizen in Chatham-Kent CYBERPROOFED!
Internet safety is something that youth and adults need to be aware of because the dangers are not limited to just young or old. Internet predators and identity thieves are always on the lookout for personal information which could make someone their next victim. The Chatham-Kent Police Service’s “CYBERPROOFED” program helps to raise awareness about a wide variety of topics surrounding the internet. Internet Predators, Identity Theft, Cyberbullying, Social Networking Sites including chatrooms, instant messaging, and personal web spaces are some of the many topics that internet users of all ages need to be aware of in order to prevent become a victim of cybercrime.
The “CYBERPROOFED” program is available to all area schools in addition to parent and community groups who are looking to be one step ahead of cyber criminals and the dangers that exist on the internet. For more information or to arrange the “CYBERPROOFED” program for your class or group contact the Chatham-Kent Police Service Crime Prevention and Community Safety Section at 519-352-4650.
www.netlingo.com – on-line dictionary of all types on internet short forms often used in instant messaging.
www.netsmartz.org – contains a wide variety of interactive ways for kids, teens, parents and educators to learn and teach internet safety.
Two good free programs to keep your computer free from unwanted spyware and ad-ware:
For a a complete list of Internet Safety information go to:
Internet Safety for Kids
- When using the Internet always use a pretend name or nickname that doesn’t reveal anything about you.
- Do not open e-mail, files, links, pictures or games from people that you don’t know or trust.
- Do not arrange to meet a friend that you have made on the Internet unless one of your parents has been informed and will be present .
Top Ten Tips
- Teach your kids to trust their instincts. If they feel nervous about anything they see or hear online, they should tell you about it.
- If your kids visit chat rooms, use Instant Messaging (IM) programs, online video games or other activities on the Internet that require logging in by name to identify themselves, help them choose a login name and make sure it doesn’t reveal any personal information about them.
- Insist that your kids never give out your family’s address, phone number or any personal information, including where they go to school.
- Teach your kids that the difference between right and wrong is the same on the Internet as it is in real life.
- Teach your kids how to respect others online. Make it clear that rules for good behaviour don’t change just because they’re on a computer.
- Insist that your kids respect the property of others online. Explain that making illegal copies of other people’s work — music, video games or other programs — is a form of theft, plain and simple.
- Tell your kids to never meet online “friends” in person. Those “friends” may not be who they say claim to be.
- Teach your kids that not everything they read or see online is true. Encourage them to ask you if they’re not sure about something they see or hear.
- Control your children’s online activity using advanced Internet software. Parental controls can help you filter out harmful content, monitor the sites your child visits and find out what they do there.
Internet Safety for Youth
It’s common for younger teens to experience periods of low self esteem, seek the approval of their friends, and be reluctant to accommodate their parents’ expectations. Older teenagers need both group identity and independence, and tend to reconcile their family and peer values. In late adolescence, kids also mature and are ready to interact with the world on an intellectual level. Generally, teens are open to new ideas but lack the life experience to judge their validity. It is important for parents to continue to guide older children’s use of the Internet.
Teens download music, use instant messaging (IM), e-mail, and play online games. They also actively use search engines to find information on the Internet. Most teens have visited chat rooms, and many have participated in adult or private chats. Boys in this age group are more likely to push the boundaries and look for gross humour, gore, gambling, or explicit adult sites. Girls might be more likely to chat online and therefore might be more susceptible to sexual solicitation online.
Here are some safety tips to consider as you guide your teens online:
- Create a list of Internet house rules with your teens. You should include the kinds of sites that are off limits, Internet hours, and guidelines for online communication, which includes chat room communication.
- Keep Internet-connected computers in an open area and out of your teens’ bedrooms.
- Talk to your kids about their online friends and activities just as you would about their other friends and activities. Talk to your teens about their instant messaging list, and make sure they don’t talk to strangers.
- Know which chat rooms or message boards your teens visit, and who they talk to online. Encourage them to use monitored chat rooms, and insist they stay in public chat room areas.
- Insist that they never agree to meet an online friend in person.
- Teach your teens never to give out personal information without your permission when they use e-mail, chat rooms, or instant messaging, fill out registration forms and personal profiles, and enter online contests.
- Teach your kids not to download programs, music, or files without your permission. If they share files or take text, images, or artwork from the Web, it might violate copyright laws and can be illegal.
- Encourage your teens to tell you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and remind your kids they are not in trouble if they bring something to your attention. (It is important that your teen does not think that you’ll take away their computer privileges.)
- Talk to your teenagers about online adult content and pornography, and direct them to positive sites about health and sexuality.
- Help protect them from spam. Tell your teens not to give out their e-mail address online, not to respond to junk mail, and to use e-mail filters.
- Be aware of the Web sites that your teens frequent. Make sure your kids don’t visit sites with offensive content, or post personal information or photos of themselves.
- Teach your kids responsible, ethical, online behaviour. They should not use the Internet to spread gossip, bully, or threaten others.
- Make sure your teens check with you before they make financial transactions online, which includes when they order, buy, or sell an item.
- Discuss online gambling and its potential risks with your teens. Remind them that it is illegal for them to gamble online.
Internet Safety for Adults
- Keep passwords private — even from best friends!
- Don’t respond to mean or harassing e-mails. Just log off.
- Be suspicious when someone offers you something for nothing, such as gifts or money.
- Never agree to meet with someone face-to-face without telling your parent or guardian. If your parent or guardian agrees to the meeting, make sure to meet in a public place.
- Remember that people online may not be who they seem.
- Do not give out personal information (address, phone number, where you go to school or photographs) to someone that you only know through the Internet, unless you have permission from your parents or guardian.
- Remember that anything you post, even if you delete it, may have been copied, forwarded or reposted.
- Do not create a video that makes fun of another person. Always treat others as you’d like to be treated.
- Make sure there are no identifying objects or pictures (school jersey, street names, licence plates) in your videos that could put you at risk.
- Always respect privacy rights when it comes to the people in your video. You must get the permission of everyone who appears on camera, and if you take video of children, make sure you have permission from their parent or guardian.