Working together to create a set of rules for the safe use of the Internet is a great way for parents/guardians and children to establish a mutual understanding about behaviours that are appropriate online and those that are not. With a set of rules in place, kids can enjoy their time online and parents/guardians can feel comfortable knowing that their children are having a positive and safe experience.
Creating an Internet Safety Agreement
Create your very own Internet Safety Agreement by selecting from the following suggested rules that you both agree on. Print them in a family agreement and display them in a common area in your home.
Here are some guidelines to follow before creating the Internet Safety Agreement:
- The ideal model of safe online behaviour, is when all of the rules listed are followed. You are encouraged to select as many of them as possible to maximize safety.
- The agreement should be created to identify the potential dangers of life online, such as cyberbullying, gaming addictions and online predators, and to establish behaviours that safeguard against these dangers. It should not be created with the intention of limiting a child’s online experience or controlling what they do.
- Review the agreement in detail to make sure everyone knows the rules and the consequences of not following them.
- Both the parent/guardian and child should sign the agreement so that everyone takes ownership of and accountability for the agreements.
- Post the agreement in a spot that is clearly visible – preferably close to where the technology is used - so that it acts as a visible reminder of your commitment to staying safe.
- Revisit your Internet Safety Agreement from time to time to be sure it’s still relevant or to create a new agreement as your child grows older.
Suggested Rules for the Internet Safety Agreement
Safety and Security
- I will choose a password that is hard to guess and I will not reveal my password to anyone except my parent/guardian. I will also never reveal anyone else's password.
- I will not give out any private information, such as my home address, telephone number, my parent’s/guardian’s work address or telephone number, the name and location of my school, credit card numbers or a physical description of myself, without permission from my parent/guardian.
- My online profiles will be visible to my friends and family only.
- I will not send or post pictures of myself, my family or my friends to other people over the Internet without permission from my parent/guardian.
- I will never arrange to meet someone in person that I have met online without permission from my parent/guardian and without them being present. I will also not do anything that someone I’ve met online asks me to, if I am not certain that my parent/guardian would approve.
- I will only use my webcam to chat with my trusted friends or under adult supervision and I will always turn my webcam off when it is not in use.
- If a website requires a formal name to personalize the content, I will use a nickname or an avatar that I have discussed with my parents/guardians.
- I will not download online programs that might expose our family computer to viruses or identity theft without the permission of my parent/guardian.
- I will treat others online with courtesy and respect. I will never send out mean, rude or threatening messages and I will not respond to any such messages that are sent to me.
- I will immediately tell my parent/guardian or another trusted adult about any emails or messages that make me or my friends feel uncomfortable.
- I will never be a willing participant in a cyberbullying situation. If I witness cyberbullying, I will tell a teacher, parent/guardian or other adult I trust.
- I will not download or share copyrighted material.
- I agree to use the computer in an open place in our home, such as the living room, family room or kitchen, so that my parent/guardian can supervise my activities online.
- I will discuss my computer use with my parents/guardians and together we will decide on what websites I can visit, when I can use the Internet for fun (e.g., on weekends, after homework is finished or after chores are complete) and the length of time I can be online searching, chatting or playing video games (e.g., no more than 1 hour per day).
- I will not sign up for clubs, fill out questionnaires or buy things online without permission from my parent/guardian.
- I will help my parents/guardians to understand how I use the computer and commit to helping them become more knowledgeable about new technologies so that we can have fun using technology together.
- I agree to all of the above rules and recognize that if I don’t follow these rules my computer, mobile device or video game time may be reduced or certain web pages, games or applications may become unavailable for me to use.