Nelson Education > School > Mathematics K-8 > Mathematics 4 > Parent Centre > Family Web Links> Safe Internet Practices

Safe Internet Practice


Parents want to provide their children with all the tools necessary for the future. The Internet is a powerful resource that plays an important role in the education of children. In 2002, it is estimated that 560 million people are online around the world. By 2004, it is projected that 945 million will have online access. In Canada, 99% of Canadian youth have used the Internet at some time, and 79% have access at home. About 48% use the Internet for one hour each day. *

While the Internet offers enormous positive advantages to empower individuals, there are also risks for those who do use it. Many individuals who communicate over the Internet with your children may be unknown to them; good judgement should be exercised when talking with strangers. Just as we protect our family from strangers who come into our home, it is important to protect them from people who can gain access to our home by way of the Internet.

What are Your Children Doing on the Internet?

Direct communication on the Internet can happen in several ways - through e-mail, chat rooms, and via instant messaging.

E-mail is the sending of electronic messages and files to individuals or groups who can then respond in their own time. It is one of the most popular methods of communicating because it is quick, efficient, and fun.

In chat rooms, users connect to a network of servers to chat/type messages to each other in real time. Full-time monitors - people who can screen inappropriate content - should always be available for children who are using chat rooms. However, when conversations are taken into private chat rooms, monitors no longer have access.

Instant messaging is a personal network or controlled list of people to talk to in real time. These lists let users know who else is online.

Some Ways You Can Practice Internet Safety

1. Set rules for using the computer.

  • Determine who can use the computer.
  • Locate the computer in a common area where activities are easily observed.
  • Decide the access times and the costs associated with being on the computer.

2. Set rules for personal protection.

  • Keep personal information safe. Children need guidance about what information they can give out safely over the Internet. Personal identity information including: name, address, phone number, age, gender, photographs, PIN number, credit card details, school name, and school address should never be given out to unknown individuals without parental permission.
  • Keep passwords private. Make passwords easy for a child to remember but hard for others to guess. Stress the importance of keeping a password private.
  • Establish what is unacceptable communication. Politeness and clarity ensure that the tone of the conversation will not be misunderstood when communicating only in words. Check the etiquette of the Web site and follow their rules.
  • Let your child respond only to messages from people that you personally know and trust. They should not accept or respond to unknown files. Children should be taught to recognize uncomfortable situations, and they should know how to react in a safe manner. Above all, be aware of what your children are doing, and with whom they are communicating.

Technology can Help You

Become informed about the type of technology available to keep your family safe on the Internet. Technology can provide some assurances to protect your family, computers, and files from outsiders.

Filtering Software filters or blocks access to objectionable or unacceptable Web sites, chat rooms, e-mail, and instant messaging. Filters can be programmed by parents and/or software companies, and should be updated on a regular basis. However, filtering software is not foolproof.

Firewalls protect the contents on your computer against people who want to access it for personal information or to corrupt files. Firewalls may record traffic that has attempted to gain entry into computer files, and can often identify those trespassers.

Walled Gardens provide subscribers with access to selected Web sites that have been pre-approved for content. They offer the highest level of safety against the access of unsuitable materials.

Child Search Engines or Safe Portals are gateways or access points onto the Internet. They monitor linked Web sites.

Virus Protection Software detects and protects computer files from programs that can destroy or corrupt files. Viruses are most often downloaded through e-mail, Web sites, or from sharing diskettes. New viruses are always being created; therefore, virus protection software needs to be updated regularly.

The best way to know what your children are doing on the Internet is to get involved. Join a chat room, surf the Web, share an e-mail account with them, and access the new world for yourself.

Internet Safety Web Sites

Safe Passage:Teaching Kids to be Safe and Responsible Online

Chat room safety tips


Internet checklist for parents


Why parents need to know what their children are doing online

Canada's Children in a Wired World: The Parents' View. Prepared for Industry Canada, Health Canada, and Human Resources Development Canada by the Media Awareness Network, based on analysis by Environics Research Group. This survey of over 1000 Canadian parents offers insight into their opinions about their childern's Internet use, the benefits and risks of the Internet, and discusses measures for addressing Internet safety and monitoring online content.

Young Canadians in a Wired World: The Students' View. Prepared for the Media Awareness Network and the Government of Canada by Environics Research Group. This survey of nearly 6000 Canadian students looks at what they do online, and how they perceive the Internet.

Web Awareness for Parents - Managing the Internet at Home

Elmer the Safety Elephant discusses travelling the information highway safely on this Canada Safety Council Web site.

* From Young Canadians in a Wired World: The Students' View, October 2001.