Parents who take their responsibility seriously would never allow their young children to wander the streets of a strange city alone. Yet these same parents may allow their children to surf the unpredictable and unregulated Internet alone.
Computer guru Kim Komando, the host of a top-10-rated radio talk show, has created a manifesto called “10 Commandments for Kids Online” as a guideline for children’s online behavior. Teachers, youth ministers and pastors may also want to pass these points on to children in their schools and congregations.
10 commandments for kids going online
My parents and I will decide when I am allowed to use the computer and the Internet. I promise not to ask or fight for more computer time. I will only do things and visit places that they say I can.
I will never tell anyone online or post online that I am home alone. I won’t give out my last name, my home address or telephone number or the name of my school or teachers. I won’t say where my parents work or give out their telephone numbers without getting my parents’ permission. I will never give out my friends’ screen names, email addresses, names, addresses and telephone numbers, and I will remind them to keep mine a secret.
If anyone online does anything that bothers me, I will tell my parents. I will never use bad language, say bad things about other people, or send mean messages in an email, text or instant message, chat room, blog or on a website. I will tell my parents if someone does that to me. If I use “secret” or “code” words online, I will tell my parents what they mean.
When I use instant messaging, email, chat rooms or websites where people put information about themselves, I will never send or post a picture of my family or me. If I set up a blog or an online profile, I will tell my parents where it is and how they can read it.
I WILL NEVER, EVER MEET WITH ANYONE I’VE TALKED TO ONLINE WITHOUT FIRST TALKING WITH MY PARENTS.
If my parents ask me for my password, I will give it to them. I will never give out my passwords or any of our family’s passwords to anyone, not even my friends or other family members.
If I want to download any games, movies, music or programs, I will ask for permission. I know I must pay for most of these things. If I take them, it is stealing.
I will not try to win free things or buy things on the Internet without my parents’ permission. If I get a message that I’ve won something, I will show it to my parents. If I get an email asking for passwords or other secret stuff, I will ask my parents.
I will not open any of my parents’ files. I will not change any settings or install any new software without my parents’ permission.
I give my parents permission to look on the computer to see where I have gone on the Internet, the email and text messages I have sent and received and what I do in a chat room. If my parents install the programs that track what I do on the computer or limit where I go online, I promise not to turn those programs off.
These “10 Commandments for Kids Online” are used with permission.