Following are some helpful child safety suggestions provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a national resource center for child protection.
Top 5 guidelines for online safety:
- Teach your children to never give out identifying information – home address, school name or telephone number – in a public message such as a chat room or bulletin board.
- Get to know the Internet and any services your children use.
- Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children. Discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder. (Visit www.ncmec.org for a suggested list.)
- Check out blocking and filtering options.
- Be sure to make Internet usage a family activity. Consider keeping the computer in the family room rather than the child’s bedroom.
Top 5 guidelines for child protection:
- Know where your children are at all times. Be familiar with their friends and daily activities.
- Practice basic safety skills with your children – make an outing to the park or mall into a “teachable” experience in which your children can practice checking in with you.
- Be sensitive to changes in your children’s behavior; they are a signal that your should sit down and talk to your children.
- Teach your children to trust their own feelings and assure them they have the right to say “no” when they sense something is wrong.
- Update identification information including photos and descriptions every six months.