By taking responsibility for your children's online computer use, parents can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online.
Make it a family rule to:
Never give out identifying information - home address, school name, or telephone number - in a public message such as chat or bulletin boards, and be sure you're dealing with someone that both you and your child know and trust before giving it out via e-mail.
Get to know the services your child uses. If you don't know how to log on, get your child to show you.
Never allow a child to arraign a face-to-face meeting with another computer user with out parental permission.
Encourage your children to tell you if they encounter messages that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening or that make them fell uncomfortable.
Remember that people online may not be who they seem.
Remember that everything you read online may not be true.
Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children.
Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules.
A child or teenager's excessive use of online services or bulletin boards, especially late at night, may be a clue that there is potential problem. Remember that personal computer and online services should not be used as electronic babysitters.
Be sure to make this a family activity. Consider keeping the computer in a family room rather than a child's bedroom.