The Internet can be a place for learning and for having fun. It can also be a dangerous place if you do not use common sense at the same time you are using the Internet. There are sites and people you should avoid. Chat rooms are sometimes used by people who want to harm others.
We take Internet safety very seriously at school and urge you to do the same at home. The guidelines for teens and for parents printed below were adapted from the publication Red Flags and Resources which was published as a joint effort of Emerson Hospital, Westford Public Schools and school systems in eight neighboring communities. This guide can be downloaded from our Youth Risk Behaviors page.
Guidelines for Teens
• Never enter information about yourself online without first checking with your parents. Never include home address, telephone number, school, photographs or passwords.
• Never go alone to meet someone you know only from the Internet. Any meeting should be in a public place with a trusted adult present.
• Don't tell anyone anything online that you would not want others to know.
• If you are made uncomfortable in a chat room, leave it. Don't put up with rudeness, bullying, or provocative chat.
• Report threatening, harassing, or abusive messages or pictures to your parents.
• Do not answer threatening or obscene emails or chat room messages.
• Never download anything unless it is from a trusted source. Do not click on anything in an email unless it is from someone you know.
Guidelines for Adults
• Supervise use of the Internet. Place the computer in a common area of the house where adults are able to monitor its use.
• Set reasonable expectations for online behavior. Tell you teen never to respond to threatening of obscene messages.
• Talk with your teen about online interests and friends and ask to see the sites she/he visits.
• Harassment is a crime. If you teen receives obscene or threatening messages or pornography contact your Internet service provider and the police.
• Consider installing filtering software to block unwanted messages and access to objectionable sites. Remember that no filtering software is 100% foolproof. No software can replace talking to your teen.