Protecting Children Online
Internet Safety Tips for Parents
Allowing children to access the Internet poses both great opportunities and potential danger for children and their parents.
Young children and teenagers have access to technology and online resources that simply didn't exist when their parents were young. Kids and teens may have a much better grasp than their parents of how to use those resources, which can benefit them or make them vulnerable to harm.
Parents can help minimize those risks by following some basic Internet safety tips:
- Talk to your child about the Internet. While the Internet opens up an online world of information, access and entertainment, it also exposes children to potential dangers. Make sure your child knows they can talk to you about anything they have encountered through emails, online chats, social media or websites.
- Set boundaries and monitor their online activity. Be aware of your child's Internet habits on mobile devices, tablets and computers. Discuss with your child what is and what is not acceptable for their age to access online, including communicating with people you don't know and strangers they have never met. Talk to your child about sharing or posting any personal information, especially pictures, addresses and phone numbers.
- As a condition of allowing a child to use a computer, tablet or mobile device, a parent should know all passwords. A parent should also at least periodically monitor online browsing activity, including social media postings, emails and texts.
- Children should use a computer that's in a common or open area, and not privately in a room.
- Children should never agree to a face-to-face meeting with anyone they met online.
- Talk to children about downloading pictures and "free software," including games, which could infect your computer or device with malicious software, or malware.
- Use updated anti-virus software and utilize parental controls.
- Stop.Think.Connect. is a national public awareness campaign by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online, including Internet safety tips for parents and other helpful resources and links.
- "A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force
The Office of the Attorney General is an active member of the multi-jurisdictional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Led by the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the ICAC Task Force investigates and prosecutes those who use the Internet to exploit children. The task force includes federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. Its mission is to safeguard children from Internet crime through a program of community education, aggressive investigation, and effective prosecution.
For more information about the ICAC Task Force, click here.
888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines metro area)
Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Consumer Protection Division
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0106