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Online Safety

Parent's Guide to Online Safety

Social networks have become an important part in the lives of millions of teenagers around the world. While the Internet can be a fun and useful resource for teens, it is always important to stay aware and ensure your children are not putting their safety at risk.

Rather than deny your children access to the Internet, we recommend engaging in regular dialogue that encourages online safety. As a parent, please consider the following guidelines to assist your children to make safe decisions when participating in social networks.

Report inappropriate activity

If you discover your teen has experienced inappropriate online activity, or if you have concerns about your teen's use of Sportuso, please contact Sportuso's Parent Care immediately.

If you believe your teen has experienced criminal action, contact your local authorities. A crime online is still a crime and law enforcement personnel have sophisticated tools used to investigate online crimes. Click here to find additional authorities and groups you should also consider contacting.

Communicate with your teen about online safety

Parents should teach and continually reinforce the importance of being safe online. Use the Internet alongside your children. Ask them to show you the websites they visit. Have them log in to their accounts at various websites and instant messenger services. Ask them to teach you about things you don't understand. Point out safety concerns as they arise. Explain to them that you are not trying to invade their privacy, you are just trying to make sure they are safe.

Monitor your teen's Internet use

Put your home computer in an open space.

Check frequently to see what websites your teens are using. If you see your teen close a window as you approach, ask why.

Review email messages your teen has sent and received.

Review active instant messenger conversations.

Look at photos and other files saved on your teen's computer.

Consider parental tools that will allow you to monitor your teen's Internet usage when you're not present.

Prevent access to inappropriate websites

Teens should not be allowed to visit websites that contain mature content. Similarly, teens should not be allowed to use websites that facilitate communication with older adults. Parents can prevent their children from accessing inappropriate websites by using parental tools.

Establish rules regarding Internet use

Determine appropriate Internet use guidelines for your child. Make sure the rules you establish are reasonable based on your teen's age and maturity. Assess your teen's compliance with your rules on a regular basis.

Get tech-savvy

Your teen may know more about computers and the Internet than you do. Read up on the latest technology developments, especially those teens have embraced. Talk with other parents to learn what they know about the Internet.

Know and use available tools

There is a wide variety of software and tools available to help you keep your teens safe online. Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to determine what safety features it offers. Many ISPs also offer software and tools for parents seeking additional protection for children.

Keep your passwords secret

As a parent, you should maintain secure administrator access to each computer in your home and with your ISP. Also, remember that some websites you visit may not be appropriate for your children. Be sure to keep your login and passwords secret and change them frequently. This includes access to your email accounts.

Here is a list of some of the popular online safety websites:

⇒ BlogSafety.com

⇒ ChildrensPartnership.org

⇒ Common Sense Media

⇒ Cyber Angels

⇒ Family Tech Talk

⇒ FBI

⇒ Get Net Wise

⇒ InternetSafety.com

⇒ iSafe

⇒ Kids Online Resources

⇒ Microsoft Security At Home

⇒ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

⇒ Net Family News

⇒ Net Smartz Kids

⇒ Safe Kids

⇒ Safe Teens

⇒ Stop Cyber Bullying

⇒ Teen Angels

⇒ Web Wise Kids

⇒ Wired Kids

⇒ Wired Safety

⇒ Wired Teens