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PEDIATRIC HEALTH LIBRARY
AS HOLIDAY VACATION APPROACHES, CHOC OFFERS INTERNET SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN
December 06, 2007

During the holiday break many children will be home enjoying their free time. Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) reminds parents to monitor their children’s activities, particularly while on the Internet. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with 84 percent of children using computers at home, the Internet can be a dangerous place for unmonitored children and teens. In addition, the AAP states that there are significant social issues associated with unregulated Internet use in young children. Those issues can negatively impact children’s health.

CHOC recommends parents take the following steps to prevent risky behaviors involving their child.

Watch Out For Cyber Bullying

Catty comments, gossip and rumors may be easily spread through online posts, instant messaging, email and cell phone text messages. Cliques form in chat rooms, and kids exclude one another from “buddy lists.” Victims tend to not tell their parents for fear of losing computer privileges. Experts advise ignoring the messages or blocking the bullies’ screen names and email addresses. In some cases, it may be best for the child to get a new screen name, email address and password.

Take Charge and Establish Clear Rules

Many of these online social networks are supposed to be for teens ages 14 and older, but there is no way of verifying the age of users. Many elementary school kids pose as older teens. Predators, of course, pretend to be peers. As a parent, you have to be technically savvy. Use filters or parental controls to limit access to particular sites.

Talk to your kids about the dangers and monitor where they go. Some of these websites add 500,000 new members every week. How can they possibly monitor everything that is going on?”

10 Online Safety Tips for Your Child

Parents should post the following tips next to the family computer:

 Never give out personal information, including your name, address, telephone number, school, or your parents’ names, work addresses and telephone numbers.

 Tell your parents right away if discussions are taking place that make you feel uncomfortable, such as talk about sex, private parts, drugs or violence.

 Never agree to meet anyone you’ve met online without first checking with your parents. If they agree, meet that person in a public place.

 Never send photos of yourself, your family or your home to someone you’ve met on the Internet without first checking with your parents.

 Ignore mean-spirited messages, those with vulgar words, and any others that make you feel uncomfortable.

 Follow your parents’ rules for when you can go online.

 Never share your password with anyone, not even your best friend.

 Always check with parents before downloading software or music.

 Be a good online citizen. Be respectful of others and don’t do anything against the law.

 Use the Internet safely and have fun while learning new things.

About CHOC Children's: Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2014-2015) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital, CHOC Children's is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional health care network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, several primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence - The CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes.

CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence.  Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Pediatric Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.

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Media Contact:
Monica Garcia, Sr. Public Relations Specialist
phone: (714) 289-4183
email: pr@chocchildrens.org

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