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A little common sense goes a long way when it applies to computer and Internet usage. Here is some food for thought that is appropriate for parents who may or may not be as quick on the computer as their kids! 1. Don't hide the computer — position it in the main living area of your home so that it is easier for you to monitor. Avoid placing an Internet linked computer in your child’s room. 2. Limit time spent on the computer, as you would TV time. 3. Burn it in to your child's brain: DO NOT share personal information with anyone over the Internet. They should never pass along passwords, their name, address, phone number, picture, bank information, etc. without your prior approval. With that said, e-commerce (using a credit card to make purchases over the Internet) is perfectly safe. 4. Do not let the computer and cyber-friends become the center of your child's life. 5. Learn enough about computers to understand what your child is doing with them. If nothing else, have them teach you — it will make them feel important. 6. Monitor sites your child visits (your web browser may keep a record). 7. Keep the lines of communication open so that your child feels comfortable coming to you with questions about their on-line activities. 8. Steer your child away from chat rooms. They are the source of many gray hairs for parents! If your child would like to experience a chat room, help her find one that is appropriate and sit with them during their chat experience. 9. Make sure your child know that he should never respond to e-mail messages or sites that make him feel uncomfortable. 10. Ensure that your child let you know if she encounters pornography, explicit or rude language on the web. 11. Remind your child that the same rules about strangers that apply in person apply when using the Internet. 12. Get to know your childs on-line friends, just as you would the kids from school. 13. Do not allow computer usage when you are not at home. Latch-key children are especially suseptible to foul-play on the Internet. 14. Encourage your child to change his password often and ensure that it is never shared with anyone. 15. Know that passwords for the Internet should be treated with as much respect as your ATM password. It should be a combination of letters and numbers that are significant to you, yet hard for someone else to ascertain. Maiden names, street names, pet names, social security numbers, phone numbers, and birth dates are examples of things that should never be used for passwords. If you become aware of the existence of any pornographic or indecent materials involving children or adolescents, or any other indecencies that could put your child at risk, immediately notify your local authorities.

Computer Rules for Kids and Parents