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To parents - Your child´s safety online
The purpose of the following guide is to improve your child´s safety on the Internet.
1. Follow your child out onto the Internet
This is good both for your child and for yourself if you together explore the Internet. Try to together find homesites which are fun, exciting and suitable. In this way, you set a foundation for trust, which makes it natural to talk about what the child experiences on the network, even when he/she gets a bit older.
2. Talk to your child about the Internet
Adults usually use the Internet in connection with their work or for useful purposes such as banking businesses or to book a trip. Kids use the Internet for completely different purposes. Talk about what your kid does. Ask to see the favourite places and ask about what makes them exciting, fun and fashinating. Take a few hours of practical orientation with your child every now and then. Don´t allow yourself to get intimidated, and don´t be judgemental.
3. Encourage a good set of ethics
Internet mirrors a society with similar informal ethical rules of behaviour. It is easy to, protected by the anonymity of the Internet, be carried along and test the limits and write things which one would never say, eye to eye. Emphasize the importance of meeting others the same way that one would like to be met, oneself. There are different types of "Netiquette", with rules for choice of words, addressing and tone of voice on the net.
4. Reach agreements as to how the Internet should be used
Decide together with your family which rules should apply. You are welcome to use our Checklist for discussions with different suggestions of what can be brought up, such as: How to treat personal information (name, address, phonenumber, email, etc.) How to behave towards others (at chat, in email, with ICQ/Messenger etc.) What type of home pages and activities which are and are not acceptable to visit. Do encourage discussions in the child´s class at school. it is naturally advantageous if there are common rules, in the class or in the school, regarding the use of the Internet.
5. Encourage your child to retain personal information
Many homepages demand certain personal information before they will allow the surfers to gain access to contents and services. The information is needed for various reasons, as security or to allow the services to function. It is important that your child is conscious about how and when it is transmitting personal information. A simple rule is to decide that your child should not, without your approval, provide information such as home address, school, phone number or photographs of itself.
6. Don´t allow your child to alone meet up with unknown persons which he/she has contacted over the net
Internet is a positive meetingplace for getting to know others and find new friends. To avoid unpleasant and maybe even dangerous situations it is important that your child not meet up with unknown persons without being in the ompany of parents, friends or others that the child can trust.
7. Help your child to understand that the information on the Internet can be phony
Children use the net to make school assignments, to learn more and to find facts about their interests. The amount of information is enormous and it´s important to take part of it with discernment. Talk about criticism of the sources with your child and show various ways how to control the information on the Internet.
8. Don´t have too critical an attitude towards your child´s curiosity
Your child will surely find homepages with material which both you and the child find offensive. Example could be pornography and rasism. Remember that it´s natural to be curious and to want to find ”forbiddden sites”. Take this as an opportunity to discuss and maybe establish rules. When your child becomes older, its needs will change and the child´s right to information increases, while at the same time its ability to critical thinking develops.
9. Report information and events which you judge to be illegal
If your child finds material on the Internet which it reacts strongly against, it´s up to you as parent to try to determine if it is illegal or not. If you perceive it as being illegal, we would recommend that you make a report to the police. Also for material which you judge as being detrimental or unsuitable, there could be a reason to report it further, either to your Internet service provider or to someone who works with issues such as children and the Internet. It is important that your child feels that you as an adult can and wants to help in such a situation.
10. Technical solutions could be supportive in handling the Internet
There are ways of controlling and hindering kids´ surfing. By using the logging tool of the web reader, one can see which home pages have been visited, and by using filters one can stop accessibility to certain sites. These methods have their shortcomings, and they can also be influenced or worked around. Be aware that these solutions could be perceived as encroaching on the child´s integrity and could destroy a trusting conversation about the Internet.