With statistics that show nearly three in 10 parents (29%) let their children use the Internet without any restrictions or supervision, the Michigan State Police is reminding parents that while the Internet can be a valuable tool, it is also a dangerous place for children.

“Prevention and awareness are key to deterring online predators and exposure to inappropriate material,” said Trooper Cecil Vashaw from the MSP Wayland Post. “Children are more likely to be trusting, naive and curious.  Diligent parental supervision can help ensure safety on the Internet.”

Internet safety tips for parents:

  • Place technology devices in a common area to allow for observation of the user’s Internet activity.
  • Create rules for Internet use, including hours of use, which sites can be accessed and which sites should not be accessed.
  • Create a folder of “bookmarks” or “favorites” appropriate to your child’s age, which they can visit on the computer’s browser.
  • Teach your child to never give out personal information, such as home address, phone number, email address, password, photograph, credit card number or school information.
  • Create a family email address that your child can use to send and receive messages. Check the account regularly.
  • Know who your child is talking to online. Chat room acquaintances are strangers and children should never arrange to meet them face-to-face.
  • Teach your child the Internet is fun and educational when used appropriately, but some people don’t use it that way. Remind your child that people on the Internet may not be who they seem.
  • Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices and laptops.

For more tips, visit www.netsmartz.org. To report inappropriate contact while on the Internet, contact law enforcement.