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Offered by Dawn Dycus, M.D., Brighton Pediatrics, P.C.

The Internet can be a wonderful place, filled with endless possibilities for learning and exploration. However, it also contains a lot of inappropriate and unreliable information, making it a place that can also be unsafe for children. There are some guidelines that parents can follow to make sure their children stay safe but also have a fun experience on the Internet. It’s important to keep the following in mind about the Internet:

  • Online information is usually not private
  • People online are not always who they say they are
  • Anyone can post information online

This means you cannot trust everything you read on the Internet. People can also unintentionally fi nd material on the Internet that is off ensive, pornographic, violent, or racist. Because of this, it’s good to set some rules for your children when using the Internet. This will protect them as much as possible and teach them what to do if they encounter anything improper. Make sure your children know these rules and that they are important for their safety:

  • NEVER give out personal information
  • NEVER share passwords
  • NEVER meet someone you only know from the Internet in real life (unless a parents says it’s OK)
  • NEVER respond to messages that make you feel uncomfortable or hurt your feelings (ignore them and tell an adult about them instead)

It’s also important to teach children good Internet behavior, which means not to send mean messages, post information that can make someone look bad, or post other people’s information as their own. Limiting time on the Internet to 1-2 hours a day will also keep it from interfering with other healthy activities, like playing outside or spending time with friends.

For more information about Internet safety, you can read the article “The Internet and Your Family” on healthychildren.org. For more information, please visit our website at: www.brightonpeds.com

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