On July 8, members of an Internet safety task force banded together to develop a set of recommended practices for companies in the Internet industry in a report entitled, “PointSmart.ClickSafe: Recommendations for Best Practices”.

The coalition advocates online safety with a strong emphasis on media literacy and education for parents, educators, and children.

Prescribed goals in education include: professional development for teachers, curriculum development to increase student digital literacy, public awareness campaigns for parents and families, and research and development to further improve digital literacy and online safety.

Based on recommendations from the report, outlined below are Internet safety do’s for parents, outlined by the three stages: Before Children Go Online, During Children's Online Activities, and When Problems Arise:

EDUCATION – BEFORE CHILDREN GO ONLINE

i. Introduction to the Internet

* Learn how the Internet operates.
o Understanding how it stores, processes and generates data will help you identify the various risks involved.

* Learn about netiquette.
o When it comes to online activity, what are the proper social conventions?

ii. Registration/Creation of User Profiles

* Consult privacy policies when registering for anything online (that includes signing up to receive a company email or provide feedback on online forms).
o Is your information collected and shared? Privacy statements will identify what happens with the collection, use, storage, access and disposal of data, including all personal information. Also, note that privacy statements are updated from time to time, so keep yourself informed about any changes by visiting this page regularly.

* Read the Terms and Conditions when using websites (that includes online purchases or playing a game).
o Protect yourself and your children even further by finding out in advance what happens if any of the terms are violated.

* Learn about the services offered by various service providers, such as Internet access and web application hosting companies.
o Many offer safety tools including: privacy settings, filtering options, and tips on how to conduct safe searches.
o When using these tools, find out: what information is blocked by certain levels of filtering, how you can adjust settings, and when you should update settings.
o Ask your service provider if it offers family email accounts. This allows you to manage, monitor and protect your family’s email under a single account.

iii. Identity Authentication and Age Verification

* Monitor your child’s online accounts.
o Make sure they are age-eligible. Children can bypass online identity authentication and age verification tools and methods simply by posing as someone else or lying.

For full set of guidelines, please see Kiwi Commons.

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