FACT - Tips for Children

Here are some important points you kids should keep in mind while surfing the internet.

Never give out personal information

Personal information includes your name, the names of friends or family, your address, phone number, school name. It also includes pictures of yourself and your e-mail address.

 

Don't believe everything you read

You can't tell when a male pretends to be a female online or a 50 year old pretends to be a 12 year old online. People online may not send their own photographs either. Do not be fooled by pictures that your so-called “online friends” send you.

 

Passwords should be kept secret

Never tell anyone your password except your parents or guardians. Your password is for your own protection, giving strangers your password could be really harmful. If someone calls and says they’re with an online service or your Internet Service Provider and need your password, get their name and number and e-mail address. Call the service and ask if such a person works there and whether they allow employees to ask for passwords.

 

Do your research on Blocking, Filtering, and Rating Programs

There are now services that rate web sites for content as well as filtering programs and browsers that empower parents to block the types of sites they consider to be inappropriate. These programs work in different ways. Some block sites that are known to contain objectionable material. Some prevent users from entering certain types of information such as their name and address. Other programs keep your kids away from chat rooms or restrict their ability to send or read E-mail.

 

Use Netiquette

Be polite to others online just as you would offline. If someone treats you rudely or meanly - do not respond. Online bullies are just like offline ones - they WANT you to answer (don't give them the satisfaction).

 

Never open strange emails

Delete strange e-mails. DO NOT open e-mails from strangers. E-mails from strangers could contain malicious codes (Viruses, Worms, Trojans etc.) that would be harmful to your computer. If in doubt, ask your parents, guardian or another adult.

 

It's okay to talk about what you view

While surfing the Internet, if you find something that you don't like, that makes you feel uncomfortable or scares you, turn off the computer and talk about it to an adult.

Take breaks

Give yourself a break; don’t stay online for too long. Spend time with your family and friends off line.

 

Read website contracts

The contracts and user policies on websites are aimed at laying down guidelines for your use of the website. Read the same with your parents and ask them to explain the implications of those contracts to you. This will help you and your parents understand issues of safety on the Internet.

 

Copying is not cool

Do not copy things from websites to use for anything, unless you have the Webmaster’s permission.

 

Protect yourself

Never arrange to meet with someone you met online unless your parents go with you. If you are meeting them make sure it is in a public place and you are accompanied by your parents or a guardian.

 

Content Online

Everything you read online may not be true. Any offer that seems to be "too good to be true" probably is. Be very careful about any offers that involve your coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house.

 

Teach your Parents

Spend time teaching your parents about your online activities – show them your favourite sites let them watch you use the Internet.

Keep them involved in your online activities. They may feel happy to know that you are secure while using the Internet.

 

Be careful

Some sites that offer free “virus development kits” and "Trojans" actually cause harm to your computer by planting a virus or Trojan in your computer.

Never visit these sites and also discourage your friends from doing the same.

 

 

FACT - Guidelines for parents

Here are a few guidelines that every parent should follow to ensure your child's safety online.

Do not rely on a program to do your job!

Filtering and blocking programs can be a part of your Internet safety plan at home, but they don't take the place of a caring and concerned parent.

Be Proactive

Spend some time listening to and speaking with other concerned parents. Think of ways and means to communicate with your child and inform them of the dangers of Internet surfing. It’s never too early to speak to your child.

Be Vigilant

Look for graphic files downloaded – files ending in .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, and .pcx format. Files with these extensions may be inappropriate material from the Internet.

Do your research on Blocking, Filtering, and Rating Programs

There are now services that rate web sites for content as well as filtering programs and browsers that empower parents to block the types of sites they consider to be inappropriate. These programs work in different ways. Some block sites that are known to contain objectionable material. Some prevent users from entering certain types of information such as their name and address. Other programs keep your kids away from chat rooms or restrict their ability to send or read E-mail.

Participate with your Child Online

Get to know the services and programs your child uses – ask them to show you how their favourite chatroom works, or the online games that they participate in.

Make a Promise and Keep it!

Promise your children that you won't get angry if they come to you with a problem about an online situation. Stay calm and remember that your children trusted you to help them when they came to you - don't let them down!

Plan Ahead

Talk to your children about the things that they may encounter online. You don't have to scare them, but teach them that your values offline match your values online.

Encourage their Other Interests

Children shouldn't spend too much time online - it's just not healthy for them. Encourage them in their other activities such as outdoor sports.

Be a Role Model

If you download pirated software or other copyrighted material, don't be surprised when your child's teacher calls you in for a conference about plagiarised homework!

A Time and Place for Everything

Keep your computer in a "common" room - where you can keep an eye on it! You wouldn't allow a stranger in the bedroom with your child, don't allow them in via a computer either. Grant your children Internet access only when you are at home and awake. If they can’t stay out till late at night, they shouldn't be surfing then either!

Don’t be Afraid to Use your Computer

Don't be afraid of your computer or the Internet, they are wonderful tools that can enrich the lives of every member of the family. Trust your instincts and jump right in. The more you know, the better you can protect your family.

 

By taking responsibility for your children's online computer use, you can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online. Make it a rule to:

  • Never give out identifying information:
    Home address, school name, or telephone number should not be given to strangers.
  • Get to know the services your child uses:
    If you don't know how to log on, get your child to show you. Find out what types of information it offers and whether there are ways for parents to block out objectionable material.
  • Never allow a child to arrange a meeting:
    A face-to-face meeting with another computer user without parental permission is a definite no-no. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public spot, and be sure to accompany your child.
  • Never respond to messages:
    Bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable should not evoke any response from you. Encourage your children to tell you if they encounter such messages. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy of the message to the police and ask for their assistance. You may contact ASCL FACT helpline at fact@asianlaws.org for any assistance.
  • Report abuses:
    Should you become aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography while online, immediately report this to the nearest police station. You may also notify us if you feel the need to do so.

Strangers Online

People online may not be who they seem. Because you can't see or even hear the person it would be easy for someone to misrepresent him or herself. Thus, someone indicating that "she" is a "12-year-old girl" could in reality be a 40-year-old man.

Content Online

Everything you read online may not be true. Any offer that seems to be "too good to be true" probably is. Be very careful about any offers that involve your coming to a meeting or having someone visit your house.

Set Reasonable Rules and Guidelines

You should lay down guidelines and rules for computer use by your children. Discuss these rules with your child first and then post them near the computer as a reminder.

Monitor Compliance

Monitor your child’s compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. A child or teenager's excessive use of online services or bulletin boards, especially late at night, may point to a potential problem just waiting to happen.

Family Activity

Consider keeping the computer in a family room rather than the child's bedroom. Get to know their "online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends.

FACT - Online Risks that Children Face

Exposure to Inappropriate Material

Due to the free availability of information on the Internet, a major risk that a child may be exposed to is inappropriate material, sexual, hateful, or violent in nature, or encourages activities that are dangerous or illegal.

Gambling and Other unsuitable behaviour

Online gambling sites are flooding the Internet. It is unsuitable for children to view such sites. Most online gambling sites require a person to use a credit card. This poses a potential threat to the financial well being of the family as well.

Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and other Dangers

Some web sites and newsgroups promote the use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol. Some websites even teach how to make bombs or download “Virus Development Kits”.

Physical Harm

Paedophiles seeking children as targets have used E-mail and chat rooms to gain a child’s confidence and then arrange a face-to-face meeting. Once the child’s confidence has been won and a meeting arranged, the child is in great danger of physical harm and permanent psychological scarring.

Persecuting Messages

A child might encounter E-mail or chat/bulletin board messages that are harassing, demeaning, or belligerent. Information sent to your child could also have a psychological impact on your child.

Legal and Financial Problems

There is also the risk that a child could do something that has negative legal or financial consequences such as giving out a parent’s credit card number or committing a cyber crime. Legal issues aside, children should be taught good "netiquette" which means to avoid being rude or inconsiderate while online.

Intrusion of Privacy

A child’s privacy is vital but is most vulnerable on the Internet. No one has a right to a child’s personal information without due authorization from its guardians. Such information includes name, age, name of the school and details about the child’s family. Disclosing such information on the Internet may expose the child to substantial threats.

Wasting a Child’s Potential

By being online for unlimited number of hours, a child ends up wasting a lot of valuable constructive time that may have been utilised for creative purposes. A child’s development may suffer a great deal because of this.

FACT - Freedom from Abuse of Children through Technology

Some Recent Incidents in India

  • A ‘15 year old girl’ courts a 16 year old boy through a popular Internet chat website. The boy runs away from home to Mumbai only to find out that the ‘girl was in fact a 30 year old man. The man sexually abuses the boy, steals his money and severely beats him up.
  • A 14-year-old boy raked up bills of thousands of rupees on his father’s credit card after he got addicted to viewing pornographic websites.
  • A 13 year-old girl creates a virus by downloading a free “Virus Development Kit” from the Internet.
  • A class 10 student, who was taunted by his classmates for having a pockmarked face, puts up a pornographic website and displays nude "morphed" images of his classmates and teachers.

The number of incidents as well as the seriousness of the acts taking place due to the usage of the Internet by children could be far more damaging.

To tackle this abuse of children through the misuse of modern technology, Asian School of Cyber Laws has launched FACT(Freedom from Abuse of Children through Technology).

FACT is a five-pronged programme that includes:

  1. Educating the children on the perils of surfing the Internet and how they could safeguard themselves.
  2. Educating the parents on how to monitor the Internet activities of their children to prevent any untoward incidents.
  3. Schools awareness program to equip the schools with the requisite tools to inculcate in their curriculum, awareness programs on the dangers of the Internet.
  4. Creating Media awareness by way of assisting the media and providing vital information to them, which would be helpful to spread the message of the perils of the Internet.
  5. Establishing a FACT Help Line to assist and advise students and parents facing a cyber threat and providing counselling to victims of cyber crimes. We can be emailed at: info@asianlaws.org

Some important tips and guidelines by FACT:

  1. Online risks that children face
  2. Guidelines for parents
  3. Reasons for concern
  4. Tips for children