Learn about the Internet, and what your kids do on it
Find out how the internet works and how to navigate it. If your local school, community center, or library offers courses, sign up. Have your kids show you where they go online and what they do. If you talk openly with your kids about their Internet habits, they'll feel comfortable coming to you if they ever encounter a problem online.
Create a family agreement on Internet use
With your kids' input, create a family online agreement. It should contain guidelines on proper online conduct, safeguarding personal information, what areas and activities are off-limits, and what to do if they encounter a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared.
Accompany young kids online as they learn their way around
Don't leave young children alone to explore any cyber-environment – always be there with them, guiding them to sites or areas you consider appropriate.
Create your own list of great sites
Ask other parents, teachers, or librarians for their recommendations, or use a reputable online directory of recommended kids' sites. Your list should include some kid-friendly search engines for your children to use when looking for information online.
Teach your children never to give out personal information
The most important online safety rule you can teach your kids is to protect their personal privacy. They should never give out their name, email address, street address, phone number, or picture without your permission. This rule applies to all cyber-environments: chat rooms, email, websites, instant messaging, file-sharing networks, and online games.
Encourage good Netiquette
"Netiquette" – short for "Net etiquette" – is the informal code of conduct for the Internet. More than just having good manners, this also means not engaging in illegal activity such as inciting hatred, reading other people's mail, or copying someone else's software, online art or written work,or sharing someone else's content without their permisson.
Encourage an open dialogue with kids regarding Internet conduct
Teens, especially, tend to be adventuresome and curious and may seek out sites and activities that aren't appropriate for them. Keep the lines of communication open, so you know what they're doing online – and so they'll feel comfortable coming to you if they get into trouble.
Put your connected computer in a well-used area of your home
Make sure that your computer with Internet access is in a public part of your house, such as the family room or even the kitchen – so you can keep an eye on what your kids are doing on it. Do not put it in a child's bedroom.
Explore technological tools to filter content and control Internet access
Talk to your Internet Service Provider about what parental tools it offers its customers. Visit a computer store to find out what filtering and blocking software you can install on your computer to control Internet access. However, be aware that these tools are far from perfect – and should never replace adult supervision and involvement.