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Safety Info for Children
As soon as your children can articulate a sentence,they can begin the process of learning how to protect themselves against abduction and exploitation.
Children should be taught.
1) If you are in a public place, and you get separated from your parents, don't wander around looking for them. Go to a checkout counter, the security office,or the lost and found and quickly tell the person in charge that you have lost your mom and dad and need help in finding them.
2)You should not get into a car or go anywhere with any person unless your parents have told you that it is okay.
3)If someone follows you on foot or in a car, stay away from him or her. You don't need to go near the car to talk to the people inside.
4)Grownups and other older people who need help should not be asking children for help; they should be asking older people.
5)No one should be asking you for directions or to look for a "lost puppy" or telling you that your mother or father is in trouble and that he will take you to them.
6)If someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away from him (or her) and yell or scream. "This man is trying to take me away" or "This person is not my father (or mother)."
7)You should try to use the "buddy system" and never go places alone.
8)Always ask your parents' permission to leave the yard or play area or to go into someone's home.
9)Never hitchhike or try to get a ride home with anyone unless your parents have told you it is okay to ride with him or her.
10)No one should ask you to keep a special secret. If he or she does, tell your parents or teacher.
11)If someone wants to take your picture, tell him or her NO and tell your parents or teacher.
12)No one should touch you in the parts of the body covered by the bathing suit, nor should you touch anyone else in those areas. Your body is special and private.
13)You can be assertive, and you have the right to say NO to someone who tries to take you somewhere, touches you, or makes you feel uncomfortable in any way.
Make it a family rule to
*Never give out identifying information -- home address, school name, or telephone number -- in a public message such as chat or bulletin boards, and be sure you're dealing with someone that both you and your child know and trust before giving it out via E-mail. Think carefully before revealing any personal information such as age, marital status, or financial information. Consider using a pseudonym or unlisting your child's name if your service allows it.
*Get to know the services your child uses. If you don't know how to log on, get your child to show you. Find out what types of information it offers and whether there are ways for parents to block out objectionable material.
*Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user without parental permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public spot, and be sure to accompany your child.
*Never respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable.
*Encourage your children to tell you if they encounter such messages. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy of the messageto your service provider and ask for their assistance.
*Should you become aware of the transmission, use,or viewing of child pornography while online,immediately report this to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by calling 1-800-843-5678. You should also notify your online service.
*Remember that people online may not be who they seem. Because you can't see or even hear the person it would be easy for someone to misrepresent him-or herself. Thus, someone indicating that "she" is a"12-year-old girl" could in reality be a 40-year-old man.
*Remember that everything you read online may not be true. Any offer that's "too good to be true" probably is. Be very careful about any offers that involve your coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house. Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your children Discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder.
*Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. A child or teenager's excessive use of online services or bulletin boards, especially late at night, may be a clue that there is a potential problem. Remember that personal computers and online services should not be used as electronic babysitters.
*Be sure to make this a family activity. Consider keeping the computer in a family room rather than the child's bedroom. Get to know their"online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends.
"Guidelines for Parents" is reprinted from"Child Safety on the Information Highway" by Lawrence J. Magid. It is reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Copyright ©:NCMEC 1994. All rights reserved.