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Internet Safety Net: A Guide for Parents

Internet Policy | Internet Safety Policy

What Parents Should Know About the Internet

The Internet is a global network of information networks accessible with a computer. Entertainment, education, and information are all at your fingertips. You can visit the world's great libraries, take a college course, play a game, or check weather forecasts and sports scores. Virtually anything you want to know can be found somewhere on the Internet.

However, not all the information that appears is accurate. Some people can be rude, obnoxious or exploitative face-to-face. The anonymity of a computer may encourage even more such behavior.

Does this mean you shouldn't allow your child to use the Internet? Of course not. It simply means that you should be on the alert and be aware of the risks. A few tips will ease your fears and allow you and your child to take advantage of this new technology.

Minimizing the Risks

The best way to assure that your children have a positive online experience is to be aware of what they are doing.

  • First, have your child show you how to access the Internet.
  • Spend time with your children when they are online.
  • Explore the wide range of information that is available and discuss with your child which topics you consider off-limits.
  • Keep lines of communication open so that you can talk to your children and they will recognize that your interest in what they are doing is genuine. The same parenting skills that apply to the "real world" also apply while online.
  • Monitor the amount of time your child spends with the computer. Excessive use of online services, especially late at night, may signal a potential problem.
  • Set your own rules for Internet use.

Guidelines for Parents

Parents who are concerned about their children's use of electronic resources should provide guidance. Personal computers and online services should not be used as electronic babysitters. Make computer use a family activity. Get to know your child's online friends as well as their other friends.

Talking together, setting rules together, keeping aware of computer services offered, will make using the Internet exciting for you and your child. The opportunities to learn are great. Make the most of them by sharing the online experience with your child.

It is important that you as a parent assume responsibility for your child's online computer use - at home, at school or in the library. Some rules your family may consider adopting are:

  • Never give out identifying information such as home address, school name or telephone number.
  • Decide whether you want personal information such as age, marital status or financial information revealed.
  • Never allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone via the computer without your approval.
  • Never respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, threatening or that make you or your child uncomfortable.
  • If you or your child become aware of the transmission of child pornography, report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
  • Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.
  • Remember that everything you read may not be true.

The Library's Internet Access Policy for Children and Young Adults

It is the policy of the Library to provide Internet access service to the public for library-related research, informational and learning purposes within the limits of available space, equipment and personnel resources. The Library strongly encourages parents to supervise their children's Internet and World Wide Web use. It is the parents' responsibility to determine what is appropriate for their own children to view. Library staff does not act in the place of a parent to restrict what a child or young adult may access.

Through signature, all users must agree to the Library's Internet Use Policy every time access is requested. Youth ages 11 and under cannot use an Internet computer without the signature of a parent or guardian.

Internet access is limited to one to two hours daily, depending on location. All users of electronic information resources are expected to use the resources in a reponsible manner. Use of library computers to send, receive or display inappropriate materials, defined as text or graphics which may reasonably construed as obscene, is prohibited.

*The complete Internet Access policy is also available at each Library location. For the library closest to you, see Library Locations.

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