The Internet is similar to the Wild West. There is no rating system. It is an anything goes environment. Because of this it is up to parents and teachers to monitor what children are doing, seeing, and communicating on the Internet.
The Belle Valley Staff is committed to keeping students safe when they are using the Internet. Safety measures have been put into place ensure student safety. Students are allowed and encouraged to access the Internet for information. However, they are not allowed to use web mail or social web sites such as Facebook and MySpace at school. Search content is filtered according to phrases entered into search engines. If the phrase is deemed inappropriate it will be blocked. Below is an excerpt taken directly from Kidshealth.org to help parents enforce Internet safety.
Getting Involved in Your Child's Online Activities
Aside from these tools, it's a good idea to take an active role in protecting your child from Internet predators and sexually explicit materials that are online. Here are some steps that can help you do that:
- Become computer literate and learn how to block objectionable material.
- Keep the computer in a common area, not in individual bedrooms, where you can watch and monitor your child.
- Share an e-mail account with your child so you can monitor messages.
- Bookmark your child's favorite sites for easy access.
- Spend time online together to teach your child appropriate online behavior.
- Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software. Be aware that posting messages to chat rooms reveals your child's email address to others.
- Monitor your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges.
- Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child's school, after-school center, friends' homes, or any place where he or she could use a computer without your supervision.
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
- Forward copies of obscene or threatening messages you or your child receives to your Internet service provider.
- Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 if you are aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography online. Contact your local law enforcement agency or the FBI if your child has received child pornography via the Internet.
Many sites use "cookies," devices that track specific information about the user, such as name, e-mail address, and shopping preferences. Cookies can be disabled. Ask your Internet service provider for more information.
It's also a good idea to set up some simple rules for your kids to follow while they're using the Internet. These rules may include:
- Follow the rules you set, as well as those set by your Internet service provider.
- Never trade personal photographs in the mail or scanned photographs over the Internet.
- Never reveal personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name or location. Use only a screen name. Never agree to meet anyone from a chat room in person.
- Never respond to a threatening e-mail or message.
- Always tell a parent about any communication or conversation that was scary.
- If your child has a new "friend," insist on being "introduced" online to that friend.
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