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Staying safe online

Staying safe online

We work with the Massachusetts attorney general to educate consumers on a variety of topics. Learn how you and your children can stay safe while using the Internet.

KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN SAFE

Millions of young children use the Internet daily. Parents need to know about the dangers the Internet poses to children. Studies show that:

  • one out of every 17 children feel threatened or harassed online
  • one out of every five children receive sexual solicitation online, and
  • one in four children see unwanted sexual material.

Children don't always tell their parents when these incidents happen, so parents should track how their children use the Internet.

Follow these tips to protect your children when they're online:

  • Keep your computer in a common area like the living room. It’s easier to keep an eye on your children.
  • Check the history button on your Internet browser to see which websites your children are visiting.
  • Check for open applications along the bottom of your computer screen. There may be hidden ones that your children don’t want you to see.
  • Never allow your child to send pictures without your permission.
  • Tell your child not to open an email unless it's from someone they know.
  • Enable parental controls on your computer and browser.
  • Teach your children to never give out personal information, including names and addresses, phone numbersschool names, and any information that can identify them.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?

Make sure your child tells you right away if they see something that makes them uncomfortable. Report these situations to your Internet Service Provider or the police if necessary.

Your child also needs to know that things they say or do online can hurt other people, too. They should be careful about what they post. Some children have even been charged for committing crimes online.

Still have questions? Contact:
Consumer Affairs and Licensing
617-635-3834
1 City Hall Square
Room 817
Boston, MA 02201-2039
United States
Safety Resources

Visit getnetwise.org to read current information on Internet security threats. You can also find tutorials for downloading software and using parental controls. The Office of Consumer Affairs has a more complete list of Internet safety tips for you and your family.