SC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

Parent's Guide to Internet Safety

Digital Parenting

Protecting your children on the Internet can be difficult. Here are a few valuable tips and resources to help in keeping online safety at the forefront of your child's online experience.

10 Tips for Internet Safety for Parents


Establish an ongoing dialogue and keep lines of communication open

  • Establish an ongoing dialogue and keep lines of communication open
  • Encourage your child to tell you if they ever see or receive something that makes them uncomfortable
  • Learn about the services they use, what they offer, and what safety features they have
  • Talk to your child about sexual victimization and online predators

Don’t be overly critical of your child’s use of the internet

  • Children come by some adult material by accident, and some by intentional searching.
  • Remember that children are naturally curious, especially about things that they know are off-limits.
  • Try to be open, talk about these issues, and make rules for these problems as they arise.

Explore the Internet together as a family

  • Let your child show you what they are interested in on the internet.
  • Take the time to explore new websites, games, and apps together.
  • Bonding over new experiences helps build trust with your child and allows them to be more open about their internet use in general

Talk to you child about the risks of meeting “online friends” in person

  • Let your child know that people aren’t always who they appear to be online.
  • It is a good thing to make new friends, but extra precautions should be taken with online friends.
  • Make sure your child knows that they should never meet an online friend in person without first getting your approval.

Create online rules with together with your family

  • Involve your children in the creation of the online rules so that they are more familiar with the rules and feel as if they contributed to family safety.
  • Post the rules near the family computer and talk often about the rules since most children and teens now access the internet remotely.

Talk to your child about sharing personal information

  • It is important for your child to know that certain information should never be shared online.
  • Websites and apps often ask for this information before a user can use the service. Make sure your child knows to get your permission before ever giving out this information.
  • Also make sure that your child knows what information is and isn’t appropriate to share with people they have met online.

Educate yourself about technology and the internet

  • Give yourself as much knowledge as possible when it comes to the internet and technology
  • Talk to other parents, join communities dedicated to internet safety, and read articles about related topics.
  • The more you know the better you will be able to relate to your child about these issues and the better qualified you will be to make these decisions.

Take advantage of Privacy Settings on all Websites and Apps

  • Most websites and apps have privacy settings that can be adjusted.
  • Make sure that the settings are age-appropriate for your child.
  • Teach your child that these settings are there for their protection, not punishment.

Address Cyberbullying with your child

  • Make sure your child knows that bullying is wrong, online and in person.
  • Have a plan for what your child should do if they witness bullying, or if they become the victim of bullying

Be a Good Digital Role Model

  • Your children watch your actions to learn how they should act.
  • If you aren’t using the internet and technology, they have to look elsewhere to learn how to use it.
  • Using technology is one of the easiest and fastest ways to understand it.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children