Children's Safety on the Internet

You know how important it is to help protect children from inappropriate content and contact on the web, so here are some guidelines to help you achieve this.

Children's Privacy
Protecting the privacy of our children is essential to Piedmont Federal. Our Web site is not designed to market to children under the age of thirteen (13) or obtain information or data from them. We subscribe to the practices under the Children's Online Protection Act.

Up to age ten

Supervise your children until they are at least 10 years old. You can use internet safety tools to limit access to certain content on the web, but we recommend that you sit with children under age 10 when when they use the internet.

Here are some safety tips to think about when you go online with your 2-10 year old:
  1. It's never too early to talk openly with children about the internet. It's a good idea to talk with them about computers and to stay open to any questions and curiosity about them.
  2. Always sit with your kids at this age when they're on the internet.
  3. Set clear rules for internet use.
  4. Tell your children not to share personal information - such as their name, address, phone number, or passwords to special accounts - with people they meet online.
  5. If a site encourages kids to submit their names to personalize the web content, help your kids create online nicknames that don't give away personal information.
  6. Help protect your children from offensive pop-up windows by using the pop-up blocker that's built-in common web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Ages 11 to 14

Children this age are better able to understand the internet experience, but it's still a good idea to supervise and monitor their internet usage to help ensure they are not exposed to inappropriate materials. You can use internet safety tools to limit access to certain content on the web and to provide a report of internet activities. Make sure children this age understand what personal information they should not give over the internet.

When your kids are this age it might not be necessary to physically watch their internet use at all times.

Here are some safety tips to think about when you go online with your 11-14 year old:
  1. It's a good idea to talk openly with children about the internet and about computers. Also, stay open to any questions and curiosity they may have about them.
  2. Set clear rules for internet use.
  3. Tell your children not to share personal information - such as their name, address, phone number, or passwords to special accounts - with people they meet online.
  4. If a site encourages kids to submit their names to personalize the web content, help your kids create online nicknames that don't give away personal information.
  5. Use family safety tools to create profiles for each family member and to help filter the internet.
  6. Set family safety tools on the medium security setting. This should place some limitations on content, websites, and activities but not totally restrict access.
  7. Keep computers that are connected to the internet in an open area where you can easily supervise your kids' activities.
  8. Help protect your children from offensive pop-up windows by using the pop-up blocker that's built-in common web browsers.
  9. Encourage your children to tell you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.

Ages 15 to 18

Teens have almost limitless access to the internet. They are experienced with the internet but they still need parents to remind them of appropriate safety guidelines. Parents should be able to help their teens understand inappropriate activity and how to avoid unsafe situations that could occur. It's a good idea for parents to remind teens what personal information should not be given over the internet.

Here are some safety tips to consider as you guide your teens online:
  1. Continue to keep communication as open and positive about computers and the web as you can. Keep talking about online lives, friends, and activities, just as you would about other friends and activities.
  2. Encourage your teens to tell you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
  3. Create a list of internet house rules as a family. Include the kinds of sites that are off limits, internet hours, what information should not be shared online.
  4. Help protect your teens from offensive pop-up windows by using the pop-up blocker that's built-in common web browsers.
  5. Know which websites your teens visit and to whom they talk with online. Make sure they use monitored chat rooms and stay only in public chat room areas.
  6. They should never agree to meet an online friend.
  7. Teach your kids not to download programs, music, or files without your permission. File-sharing and taking text, images, or artwork from the web may infringe on copyright laws.
  8. Talk to your teenagers about online adult content and pornography.
  9. Help protect them from spam. Tell your teens not to respond to junk mail and to use e-mail filters.
  10. Make sure your kids are not posting personal information on the web. Be aware of the photos that teens post online.
  11. Discuss online gambling and with your teens. It is illegal for them to gamble online.

Help your kids use social networking safely

Your kids may use social networking sites designed for children such as Webkinz or Club Penguin, or sites designed for adults such as YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and others.

Kids can use social networks to connect with people who might live halfway around the world or with kids they see every day at school. Kids should understand that social networking sites can be viewed by anyone with access to the internet. As a result, some of the information they post can make them vulnerable to phishing scams and internet predators.

Here are several ways to help keep your kids safe when using social networking sites.
  • Communicate with your kids about their experiences. Encourage them to tell you if something or someone they come across on the internet makes them feel anxious, uncomfortable, or threatened.
  • Establish internet rules. As soon as your children can use the internet on their own, establish rules for internet use. These rules should decide whether your children can use social networking sites and how they can use them.
  • Ensure your kids follow age limits. The recommended age to sign up for social websites is usually 13. If your child is under the recommended age, you should not let him or her use the site. You cannot rely on social networking sites to keep your underage child from signing up.
  • Educate yourself. Checkout the sites that your child plans to use and make sure you both understand the privacy policy and the code of conduct. Find out if the site monitors content that people post and always periodically review your child's page.
  • Teach your children they should never meet anyone in person that they've only communicated with online. Kids could be in real danger if they ever meet strangers they've only communicated with online. It might not be enough to simply tell your children not to talk to strangers, because they might not consider someone they've "met" online to be a stranger.
  • Encourage your children to communicate with people they already know. You can help protect your children by encouraging them to use these sites to communicate with friends and family, not with people they've never met in person.
  • Ensure your kids don't use full names. Teach them to use only a first name or nickname. Do not allow your children to post the full names of their friends or family.
  • Be wary of identifiable information in your child's profile. Many social websites allow kids to join public groups that include everyone who goes to a certain school or is on a certain ball team. Be careful when your children reveal information that can identify them, such as a school or the name of the town they live in. Too much information can make your kids vulnerable to internet predators, internet fraud, or identity theft.
  • Consider using a site that is not very public. Some websites allow you to password-protect your site or use other methods to help limit viewers to only people your child knows.
  • Be smart about details in photographs. Explain to your children that pictures can reveal a lot of information. Encourage your children not to post pictures of themselves or their friends with clear identifiable details such as street signs, license plates, or their school name.
  • Warn your child about expressing emotions to strangers. Kids use social websites to write journals, poems or blogs that express strong emotions. Explain to your children that anyone with access to the internet can read their site and that predators often search out emotionally vulnerable kids.
  • Remove your child's page if he or she refuses to follow the rules you've set to help protect their safety. You can contact the social web site your kid uses and ask them to remove the page.
Social networking sites are not places of privacy and should not be treated as such. Keep your kids safe by monitoring their online activity at all times.

Children's Safety

To learn more about children's safety online visit these websites.

SafeKids.com
One of the oldest and most enduring sites for internet safety and civility.

FEMA for Kids
Written for children, this site features online safety rules for kids.

Keeping Children Safe Online
This cyber security alert from US-CERT addresses the unique security risks children face when using computers.

Protect Your Family
Microsoft website featuring how to minimize the risk of cyberbullying, help kids use social networking sites more safely, and use parental controls in Microsoft products to help keep your family safer online.

A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
FBI web page featuring information about online child exploitation and ways to prevent it.

MySpace and Your Child
This article written by Norton gives the basics about how MySpace works, how your kids use it, and what the dangers are.

Footer About Piedmont Federal Contact Piedmont Federal Piedmont Federal Media Piedmont Federal Privacy Policy Piedmont Federal Customer Care
© 2014 Piedmont Federal | Equal Housing Lender Logo Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC