A Parent's Guide to Online Safety

A Parent’s Guide to Online Safety
Windsor Knolls Middle School

Helping your child to remain safe online means knowing what’s going on in your kid’s world—socially, developmentally and technologically - commonsensemedia.org

KNOW THE LAW!    Did you know there are regulations out there to protect your child?

I. Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)Schools/libraries receiving federal discounts for internet access must provide measures to block/filter access to material that is obscene, harmful or child pornography.

II. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - For children 13 and under, parent consent must be given to participate on a website.  These sites are not allowed to  collect any personal information without this consent.

NOTE:  This is why popular sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat state that only children 13 and older are allowed to use them!

 How does WKMS work to protect your child while online?
All Frederick County schools involved in BYOD use a wireless connection that filters out inappropriate material on the web.  **For this reason, it’s crucial that students with cell phones log onto the FCPS network as county technology policy states.
Students frequently participate in digital citizenship lessons during their advisory time.  For examples of lessons, please refer to our secondary lessonsunder the Digital Citizenship tab.  To get there, click on the BYOD icon on our WKMS media center page.

 According to scholastic.com, one in five children is sexually solicited online.  How can I keep my child safe?

  • Set up privacy features to protect your child's identity as well as his/her accessibility to inappropriate material.
  • Teach your child not to share personal information online.  NEVER use your full name, birthdate, or address in a profile.
  • Keep your computer in a central location where you can monitor online activity.
  • Check the browser history to know where your child goes online.
  • Limit your child's online time, especially at night.  (Some parents get cell service shut down at night in order to eliminate any midnight texting, etc.)
  • Remind your child repeatedly that anything posted or forwarded in cyberspace is out there FOREVER!


  • Familiarize yourself with tween/teen texting language.  Netlingo.com and urban dictionary are two eye-opening resources.
  • Know what apps your child has on his/her device and what these apps are used for. Make sure you are on your child's FRIENDS lists.
  • Don't be afraid to review your child's posts/texts on a regular basis.
  • DO NOT DELETE inappropriate or threatening texts or photos.  These can be important evidence if further action is taken.  This is especially true if your child receives a sexually inappropriate picture of a minor.  Take the phone/device immediately to the police.


The following sites are quite helpful for providing online safety tips as well as information on popular teen Apps:

At this age, “kids’ abilities with technology far outstrip their judgment.”  -  commonsensemedia.org

Does this mean that we should just take the phone or iPad away?  On the contrary, the most important strategy is to talk EARLY and OFTEN with your child about appropriate online behavior.  Discussions which teach empathy and caution will go a long ways toward keeping your child safe.

For example…

  • To reduce issues of cyberbullying, help your child to understand the difference between what's funny and just plain mean.
  • To promote safety, work with your child on what to say/write if he/she is asked for personal information.
  • Teach them how to block someone or report abuse on a particular site.
  • Realize that your child is going to make mistakes online yet encourage them to talk to you or another trusted adult if they are in trouble or upset.