year, more and more children head online. Although the Internet
is an information tool that can educate and entertain, there
are also major safety concerns. Teachers and parents should
take the time to educate themselves and their children about
Internet safety. The fact is, parents must play a substantial
role in their child's Internet activities. Surfing the Net
is similar to any other activity. And the Internet presents
risks and dangers, just like playing in the neighbourhood
park. So while the Internet is a wonderful resource for learning,
it is also rife with perils for children.
"Kids who use Internet sites like Myspace.com often want
a place of their own, where they can exercise self-expression
and some independence. What they don't realise is that they
are as vulnerable in such places as sheep to wolves - and
often just as oblivious to the danger." - CrimeLibrary.com
Questions every teacher / parent must ask
What is the right age for kids to get on the Internet? Should
we let our students / children have their own e-mail accounts?
What rules should we set for Internet use? What should we
know before we let our children use instant messaging (IM)
services? Is it true that kids become addicted to the Internet?
What should our kids know about computer viruses? Can we track
where the kids are going online? What should we do if they
are being harassed online? Do filters work? If teenagers want
shop online - how can we be sure the site is secure?
do exhort parents to do the following:
Restrict the hours that kids can spend
online. As a general rule, the later at night one is
online, the more suspect the activity that occurs.
Ask their child what they are doing
online. Sit down with them from time to time to see
what they are doing.
Put the computer in the family room
/ lounge. It is recommended that they don't put the
computer in the child's bedroom, that way they will
have a better awareness of his or her activities.
Encourage questioning - a lot of things
online are not as they seem and this anonymous world
can be full of lies and manipulation. Motivate their
children to doubt and scrutinise things online.
Make sure their child does not give
out information over the Internet that would lead a
person to find him or her in real life.
The age at which children are embarking upon
the Internet is coming down. If your student / child has started
to explore the online world, it's time for you to sit up,
and make a few wise choices. Get the children started in the
right direction - introduce them to kid-friendly search engines
that will keep them out of harm's way. Try these:
A safe home page
In fact, make one of these search engines the default home
page on your child's computer. To do this is in Internet Explorer,
click on Tools >> Internet Options. Select the 'General'
tab. Under 'Home page' click on 'Use Current' button. Then
As a back up, it may not be a bad idea to also use filtering
software to block out inappropriate content before your student
/ child stumbles upon it. There are several programs that
i) block pornography ii) integrate with 'Safe Search' on popular
search engines iii) report on children's Internet activity
iv) offer tools to allow remote management of Internet activity
(by teacher / parent).
Net Nanny (www.netnanny.com) is a child-focused filtering
software program; it throws in add-ons such as setting time
limits on computer time for the child. (Net Nanny won the
PC Magazine Editors' Choice award for Feb 2008).
We have also developed a Security Pledge that i) Children
ii) Teachers & iii) Parents should sign and promise to
adhere to. Download
Make sure every student in your school prints out this pledge.
Then they must:
i) Sign it themselves
ii) Have their parents sign it
iii) Have the teacher-in-charge sign it
iv) Deposit one copy with the school and one with their parents
v) Pin up a copy above their study desks
Monitor the children's performance by discussing their online
behaviour during PTA meetings.
The text of the Security Pledge is as follows:
know that the Internet is full of risks. I promise my
teachers and parents not to do anything that will put
my friends or me in danger.
1. I will visit only those websites
that my school and parents and I agree upon. I will
not fight about when I can use the computer or for how
long -- my teachers' and parents' word will always be
2. I will never, unless they allow me to, submit personal
details on a website -- my name, phone numbers, address,
or details about my school or my teachers, or where
my parents work. Also, I will never share my friends'
screen names, email or phone numbers online, and tell
them they mustn't share mine. And I will never let anyone
know when I am alone at home.
3. I will never be abusive or even rude with anyone
I meet online. I will never post mean messages about
anyone in blogs, chat-rooms or through email. I will
always tell my teachers or parents if I feel disturbed
or uncomfortable about someone I have met online. I
will always tell my parents all the secret codes I use.
4. I will never share photographs of my family or myself
on any website, blog, chat room, or through e-mail or
IM. My parents are free to read my blog or my profile
on any of the websites whenever they wish to.
5. I will NEVER meet any new online friends, in real
life, without my parents' permission.
6. I will not keep any passwords secret from my parents
and never share my family's passwords or mine with anybody,
including close friends and relatives.
7. I will not download movies, software, music or games
without my teachers' or parents' permission. I understand
that all of it is not free to download, and if I still
do it, that would be stealing.
8. Any e-mails about winning a prize or asking for passwords
or personal details will always be shown to my parents.
Also, I will always inform my parents when I am offered
any free gifts or special deals on the Net.
9. I will never try to access my school's or parents'
files and documents. I will not install any new program
or try to alter any settings on the computer without
10. It's ok for my school or parents to check the sites
I visit and record what I do on the Internet. They can
look at all my messages. I promise not to shut down
any programs set up on the computer to track me. I also
promise not to try and unblock sites that have been
CHILD'S NAME & SIGNATURE
I have read all the rules and promise to follow them.
If I fail, my parents can cut me off from the Internet.
TEACHER'S NAME & SIGNATURE
I consent to the student using the Internet as long
as he or she conforms to the above rules.
PARENT'S NAME & SIGNATURE
I consent to my child using the Internet as long as
he or she conforms to the above rules.
Security Pledge: Download