Internet safety for kids

Netsafe is an independent non-profit organisation who provides cybersafety education for all New Zealanders. NetSafe’s aim is to educate all New Zealanders about safe, secure and responsible use of information and communication technology.

Hectors World teaches children from 3 years up how to keep safe on the internet. For tweenies and teens, Netsafe covers the following topics:

1. Someone is sending me nasty texts, what can I do?
2. People are saying mean stuff to me on bebo/myspace- what can I do?
3. I saw some pictures and i don’t feel very good now
4. I need to research for my project, how do I do this?
5. My friend uses limewire to get music is it safe?

Practical advice on internet safety for parents:

  • Spend time online with your children and explore websites together.  Take an interest in what they like to do online.
  • Help your children use the Internet as an effective research tool – learn about handy homework tips for children and also good searching ideas.
  • Be aware of you children communicating to people they don’t know, particularly in chat rooms. Set house rules about what information your children can give out.
  • Put the Internet enabled computer in a public area of the home, such as the living room, rather than a child’s bedroom.
  • Talk to your children about their Internet experiences – the good and the bad. Let them know it is OK to tell you if they come across something that worries them and that it does not mean that they are going to get into trouble.
  • Teach your children the ways to deal with disturbing material – they should not respond if someone says something inappropriate and they should immediately exit any site if they feel uncomfortable or worried by it.
  • Teach children that information on the Internet is not always reliable.
  • Encourage children to treat others in the same way that they would in real life by giving them an understanding of netiquette.
  • Know the best ways of avoiding spam and how to identify it when it when it first appears.
  • Set some appropriate guidelines for Internet use and discuss them with the children in your care.

Children need parents and carers to teach them how to make smart choices about who and what they find online, how to deal with commercial material, how to safeguard their privacy, how to have a positive experience when meeting people online, and how to use their time on the Internet effectively.

The types of rules you may have made about dealing with real life strangers or what children can watch on television may also be relevant to the Internet.

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