Online Safety Advice for Parents and Carers

ParerntsKids love the Internet - for fun, homework, information, games and chat. For the vast majority of children and young people, Internet use is trouble free - but there are always exceptions, and nothing is entirely safe.

Just like anywhere else, sensible precautions minimise the risks.

Remember: Even the best Parental Controls cannot replace parental supervision.

1. Set up Parental Controls. You can obtain these from some ISPs or as additional software. They are available free of charge with AOL, and include:

a) Age-appropriate Internet controls: There are four settings: General (18+); Mature Teen (16-17); Young Teen (13-15) and Kids Only (12 and under).

b) Internet Access Controls: Your children will not be able to search the Internet freely using an external browser such as Internet Explorer.

Online Timer: Make sure your kids have time for sports and socialising by restricting the time they spend online.

AOL Guardian: You can choose for a report of your child's online activities to be sent to the Master Screen Name.

Guest Controls: You can switch off the Guest feature, to prevent anyone from using your computer with a borrowed (and unrestricted) Screen Name and password.

Moderated Chat Rooms: Professional moderators are always present in the Kids and Young Teens chat rooms on AOL.

2. Get to know what your kids do online. Ask them to show you their favourite sites, and what they do when they get there. Make sure you are around when they are online. The living room or kitchen is the best place for a family PC.

3. Keep talking. Make sure your kids come to you and tell you if anything makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the Internet.

4. Never give out personal information that might identify you or your family online. Make sure your children understand how important this is.

5. Restrict children and young people to appropriately moderated chat rooms.

6. Keep the PC in a family room. Avoid putting computers in children's bedrooms.

7. Remember that the same rules apply to mobile phones , other handheld devices and games consoles that can connect to the Internet.

8. Be positive about the Internet. It is a fantastically useful learning resource.

9. Discuss any Parental Controls that you are setting up with your child.

10. Don't overreact. Your children could stop telling you what happens online.

Useful Sites

Parent and childCheck out for advice about online safety from the Home Office.

Print out the "Keep Your Child Safe on the Internet" leaflet from the ThinkUKnow Web site for lots of straightforward tips on keeping your kids safer online.

For more information, visit