Internet Safety Tips

More than 70% of American households have Internet access on their computers, enabling users to communicate with a global network of businesses, organizations, and ordinary citizens.

The internet has many useful functions; Providing educational information to children and students is among these functions. Though it can prove to be helpful in many cases, there is also a dangerous side to it. Without proper supervision, children can fall victim to online predators.

The best way to protect them is for you to learn about how the Internet works and establish a series of guidelines for your children to follow when they’re online.

These tips will help promote safe Internet usage.

Why should I be concerned about my child using the internet?

You have probably seen newspaper headlines like the ones below— sex offenders use the Internet to contact potential victims. Through Internet sting operations, police have caught pedophiles trying to set up face-to-face meetings with unsuspecting children. Other offenders have been arrested for posting images of child pornography on Internet sites.

However, police cannot keep up with every criminal who uses the Internet illegally. Even so, there are Internet sties that are legal yet not suitable for children. Parents must take the lead in protecting their kids from inappropriate webpages the same way that they shield their children from inappropriate movies on television.

What does being online mean?

Being online means being connected to the Internet, a network of computers connecting people and information throughout the world, also known as the World Wide Web.

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a private self-regulated business that gives subscribers internet access through a telephone connection.

The Internet can be used to:

  • Conduct research and obtain information on any topic.
  • Obtain current event information related to world news, business, sports, travel, and entertainment. Magazines and print newspapers also have a website.
  • Send and receive correspondence through Electronic Mail (e-mail) to/from anyone with an e-mail address.
  • Visit chat rooms, virtual discussion boards where people with similar interests have conversations.
  • Shop for nearly any type of item at a variety of commercial sites.

What are “Chat Rooms” and ” Internet Blogs”?

Chat rooms are Internet locations where live and interactive conversations are held between two or more computer users. Chat rooms can be very enticing for children because of the appeal of a “pen pal” and instant “live” communication. Most chat rooms are not monitored and posts are uncensored. All communication can be anonymous.

Internet blogs are operated by individuals, businesses, or organizations and often used for advertising purposes. The topics are aligned with a theme and offer information on hobbies or interests.

What are the dangers of my child using the internet unsupervised?

  • Exposure to inappropriate material of a sexual or violent nature.
  • Harassment: young people might encounter threatening e-mail or chat messages.
  • Molestation: pedophiles have posed as teens and used online services to meet young children/teens and then arrange a face-to-face meeting.

Parental Guidelines For Internet Safety

  • Keep the computer in a family room instead of the child’s bedroom.
  • Read about and familiarize yourself with online services and learn how to log on with your child.
  • Establish a computer password to prevent children from going online without your knowledge.
  • Instruct your children never to give out personal information on the computer, such as their name, address, phone number, school name, or a photograph.
  • Instruct your children not to respond to any messages that are mean or make them feel uncomfortable and to notify you immediately.
  • Consult a computer merchandiser regarding the use of blocking software.
  • Spend time with your children when they’re online by making it a family activity.

To report suspicious activities contact:

Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department
Special Victims Unit
(708) 865-4720

To set up a workshop on Internet Safety contact:

SVU Internet Crimes Unit (708) 865-6779