Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Tips for Parents

The following tips have been offered by a variety of experts on Internet safety. Thanks to input from the following government agencies and organizations: the FBI, the American Library Association, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the SAFECO Corporation, and the Internet and Your Child.

  1. Communicate. Talk to your child about the potential hazards of the Internet. Regularly ask them to show you the web sites they visit. Get to know their on-line friends just as you would their regular friends.
  2. Keep the Computer in a Central Room. It's harder to keep a secret when parents can regularly see what their child is doing online.
  3. Use Parental Controls and/or Blocking Software. Most Internet Service Providers (ISP) provide graduated levels of parental controls that block access to certain adult-oriented sites. Many software packages on the market are also effective.
  4. Maintain Access to Your Child's Account and Randomly Check E-mail. At first, many parents think this type of access is invading their child's privacy. Think of it another way. If your child received mail from a stranger, would you ask who they were? Would you allow your child to block access to their bedroom 24/7?
  5. Become Computer Literate. Books, classes, and software are available that teach you how to navigate the files on your computer's hard drive. Learning a few simple techniques can show you where your child has been on line recently.
  6. Never Provide Personal Information on the "Member Profiles" forms. Many Internet sites encourage visitors to fill out a profile that contains personal information. Steer away from these profiles. Pedophiles and scam artists often use profiles as a means to find victims.
  7. Never Send Family Pictures to an Unfamiliar Location. If sent to the wrong location, the photos could be used to target your child.
  8. Report Inappropriate Online Activities. Contact the police immediately if an adult tries to set up a meeting with your child. Report any on-line child pornography to your on-line service and to the National Center for missing and Exploited Children at: 1-800-843-5678.


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