|This article is adapted from the Daily Mail article published in February 2007.
Be aware when your children are using the Internet and establish some ground rules about when they're allowed to use it. You might want to restrict use to certain hours of the day so you can supervise your children while they surf.
Make surfing a social activity by moving the computer out of the bedroom and in to a front room or a family room. That way, family members can be on hand to offer advice should problems arise.
Always discourage your children from giving out personal information, such as their address, their school, their phone number or their photograph, especially in chat rooms and on bulletin boards. They need to be made aware that people on-line aren't always what they seem, even people who become pen friends or 'keypals'. Ask them about the friends they've made on the net - get to know their net friends as well as you know their real-life friends.
Always discourage your children from planning face-to-face meetings with someone they've met on the Internet. Ask them to alert you if they are approached for a face-to-face meeting. Should your child set up such a meeting, always make sure you are present - never let them go alone.
Consider using some of the filtering tools available. These are software programmes a user can install on his or her own computer to monitor Internet use, block access to specific types of material such as sexually explicit or violent material, prevent children from accessing the Internet at certain times, or prevent children from revealing personal information online. Browsers designed specifically for children are also available - these act as a gateway between your computer and the Internet by filtering out sexual or otherwise inappropriate words and images before they reach your screen. Some ISPs offer these filtering systems, other packages are available commercially.
Encourage your children to inform you if anything on a website or in a chat room or message board makes them feel uncomfortable. Tell them not to worry and that it's not their fault if they see something rude or someone's bothering them online. Teach them to leave the chat room or log off from the site immediately if they feel uncomfortable and to alert you of their concerns.