Platte County Sheriff's Office



What Parents Should Know About The Internet




It seems that almost overnight there is a whole new world for kids — and for you as a parent. If your child is not "online" already, he or she may soon be joining the 12 million children who are using the Internet.

The good news is that the online world offers children experiences that are educational and rewarding. In addition, understanding how to use the Internet may increase a child’s school performance and future job potential.

However, the Internet can also present unsafe situations. Just as you would not allow your child to wander alone into unknown territory, you also would not want him or her to use the Internet without parental guidance and supervision.

To help you keep your child safe online, this web site page provides an overview of three areas of the Internet popular with children (email, the Web, and chat rooms).

What Can Parents Do?

Learn About The Internet: If you are just starting out, your local library, community center, school or newspaper all offer free, introductory materials.

Get Involved: Spend time online with your child, whether at home, at the library, or at a computer center in your community. Your involvement in your child’s life, including his or her use of the Internet, is the best insurance you can have of your child’s safety.

Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about the parental control tools that can help you keep your child safe on the Internet as well as the increasing types of dangers and risks for children and young people.

Become An Advocate For Kids: If you see material or practices you do or do not like, contact your Internet Service Provider (the company that provides you with a connection to the Internet) or the company that created the material.

A New Medium

The Internet poses new challenges for parents because, unlike television, radio, and videos, the Internet:

     * Is interactive – your child can interact with anyone else online from your home, school or library.

     * Allows any user, anywhere, to post any information, including materials that are inaccurate, misleading and inappropriate for children.

     * Provides no restrictions on advertising to children.

     * Is not always anonymous — even when you might think it is.


E-mail is the most popular application on the Internet. It allows your child to communicate with other people from anywhere in the world. It is, however, a two-edged sword. As a parent, you should learn about the positive benefits for your child. These include:

     * Keep in touch with teachers, family, and friends

     * Get help with homework

     * Establish mentoring relationships

     * Practice and improve writing skills

     * Receive online newsletters

     * Make world-wide pen pals

 What Should You Do As An Adult?

Consider the following when it comes to taking steps to protect your child:

     * Share your child’s email account and password

     * Talk with your child about the people he or she is meeting online

     * Set a rule that your child never arranges an in-person meeting without you present

     * Complain to the sender of unsolicited email and to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about unwanted email

To assist you in this critical area, special parental control tools have been developed. These tools, although not perfect by any means, will allow you to:

     * Route your child’s email first to your account

     * Reject email from specific email addresses

     * Limit email with offensive language and personal information from being sent and received

If you follow these steps, and add to them as you discover new opportunities for protecting your child while he or she is on the Internet, you have dramatically increased the probability that your child will, in fact, remain safe


For more information about this or any other consumer issue contact:

Office of Attorney General Jon Bruning, Consumer Protection Division, 2115 State Capitol, Lincoln, NE, 68509               (402) 471-2682, Consumer Protection Line 1-800-727-6432



Platte County Sheriff's Office
2610 14th Street
Columbus, NE 68601