Just as you would teach a preschooler how to cross the street and a teen how to drive, children need guidance in navigating online safely and responsibly. Creating a family contract that defines the expectations and rules of online and technology use is a one place to start. We examined models of contracts that can be amended to suit a family.
1. I will be respectful and never post things that are rude, threatening or offensive.
2. I wonít post/send pictures or content that could embarrass me or get me in trouble.
3. I will respect otherís privacy and be courteous when posting/forwarding pictures or information about others.
4. I wonít let time on the Web and other devices interfere with sleep or school work.
5. I wonít hack into anyoneís account or use othersí content without permission.
6. Iíll protect my passwords and personal information such as phone and address.
7. If someone makes me feel uncomfortable or threatened, I will not respond. I will save evidence, tell a trusted adult and report to authorities.
8. I will ask a parentís permission before meeting online friends in person.
9. I will not post/send sexual messages or inappropriate pictures or videos.
10. I will remember that nothing on the Internet is pri- vate. It can live online forever.
1. I wonít share/post person-al information such as my address, phone, the name of my school. If anyone asks for this, Iíll tell my parents or teacher.
2. I will leave the computer and tell a parent or teacher if something makes me feel uncomfortable or scared.
3. I wonít meet someone I met online nor talk to strangers. I will tell a parent/teacher if someone asks to meet me.
4. I will not post/send pictures or videos of myself without my parentís permission.
5. I will not share passwords with anyone, not even friends.
6. I will not hurt anyoneís feelings online or be mean.
7. I will not respond to any mean or hurtful messages or ones that make me feel uncomfortable. I will tell a parent or teacher right away.
8. I will check with a parent before downloading software, hitting a pop-up or opening attachments. I will not register for sites without permission.
9. I will respect my parentsí rules for when and where I am allowed to go online.
10. I will show my parents some of my favorite things to do online, so we can have fun.
Adapted from: SafeKids.com, the Cyberbullying Research Center and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Family Online Safety Institute and other sources.