Child Internet Safety

What Parents Can Do

  • Talk with children about the benefits and risks of the Internet. Ask them what they do online, what websites they visit, who they chat with, and what games they play.
  • When possible, go online with your children. Have them show you their favorite websites, online games, and chat rooms.
  • Go online and look at websites, chat rooms, and blogs that your children might visit. This will help you identify what you think is important to discuss with them. Make a list of any websites you find that you think your children will enjoy and share it with them.
  • Keep the computer in a busy area of the house.
  • With your children, agree on rules of what they can and cannot do online, when they can go on the Internet, and how long they can stay.
  • Have your children sign McGruff's Internet Safety Pledge (PDF) and post it by the computer so they remember how to stay safe online.
  • If your children tell you that they saw something inappropriate online, don't blame or punish them. Remember that how you react will affect what your children share with you in the future.
  • Ask who your children talk to online and how they communicate (e.g., email, instant messenger, chat rooms, blogs). Tell them that you expect them to be as nice online as they are offline. Make sure they know the dangers of meeting new friends online.
  • Decide if you want to allow your children to purchase items or sign up for online services (e.g., membership to a gaming website) on their own or if they should ask your permission first.
  • Teach children about plagiarism. Explain that if they conduct online research they must give attribution to the author, organization, or website that created the content.
  • Talk with children about downloading music and movies online. If you decide to let your children download files onto your computer, show them legal ways to do so, such as using pay-per-download or pay-per-month services like iTunes and Napster.
  • Consider using a filter, blocking, or ratings system for your computer.

This information from McGruff is useful for both parents and children in learning internet safety. For more information on Internet Safety, visit to meet McGruff's friend Faux Paw, the Internet safety cat.