Internet Safety Since its inception in 1994, the World Wide Web has radically changed our world. Daily, many of us go to the internet to check email, shop, chat with other people, research a topic, or for entertainment. The internet also serves as a great resource to our children, offering entertainment and reference information for their school projects. Although most people use the internet for benign purposes, the internet does provide yet another safety hazard for our children, and parents need to be aware and vigilant. Because anyone can use the internet, your child can be exposed to a wide variety of people. Most will be normal, decent, and harmless, but there are individuals out there who seek to communicate with and exploit our children and teenagers. Teens are especially at risk, since they are more inclined to go online unsupervised and are more likely to participate in chat rooms and bulletin boards. Risks include exposure to inappropriate material, sexual exploitation, and harassment. The best way to keep your child safe on the internet is to make your child aware of some of the dangers, agree upon a set of "house rules" for using the internet, and be knowledgeable about the sites your child visits and time spent online. Suggested House Rules for Safe Surfing Keep the computer in a "public" area of your home such as the family room instead of in your child's bedroom. Consider installing Internet filtering software. Do not give out personal information such as address, phone number, school/work names, addresses, or phone numbers. Do not allow children or teens to give any credit card information or Social Security numbers. Know the sites your child visits, and agree on appropriate sites. Your child should never agree to a face-to-face meeting without parental approval and involvement. If a meeting does take place, make sure it is in a public place and that you accompany your child. Never respond to messages or bulletin board messages that seem at all inappropriate. Notify your Internet service provider (ISP) if any messages are received that are in any way suggestive, obscene, or threatening.