Things that should be part of your house rules for Internet usage will include many different things. You need to decide what can be on the Internet, who can use the Internet and for how long? You can also decide if you want to make contracts for each Internet user to sign like they would have you do at school or the library.
Keep personal information personal. This would include your full name, your age, where you live even if it is just the city, what school you go to or where you work. Predators will watch for areas they are in. If you give out any of your personal information it is easier for them to find you. It is also easier to steal someone’s identity when they have bits and pieces of your personal information. With just little bit someone can get anything they need.
Time limits should be a part of your house rules if there are a lot of Internet users in your home. This will keep arguments to a minimum. Time limits will also allow for some organization so you will be able to more likely monitor the usage effectively if you need to.
You should look at rules to safeguard your children’s safety as a part of your house rules on Internet usage. This would include knowing and being familiar with the sites they use. You should know what types of ads or other services these websites promote. Look at what some of the websites safety measures are and what they do if the safety measures don’t work.
Learn how to use web searches effectively. The more specific you are on your search the better your chances of getting the right information. If you run into problems report them or block them from your computer. There are search engines that will allow you to filter out undesirable websites from the search. This is a great rule for older kids who search the Internet. There is a lot of information out on the Internet, and not all of it is good.
Another rule that should be part of your house rules for Internet usage would be the publishing of personal web pages. These can be for a budding writer or a sports enthusiast. The rules should be the same for all web pages that may be published onto the Internet regardless of who publishes the pages. Discuss what is acceptable to put onto the pages including names, and places. This information could be misused. Think before putting it on the page if you really need it. Before adding text to your web pages you should also be aware of copying other peoples work. Always ask permission before using something you did not do. If you publish something and claim it is yours then it becomes stealing. If your children are doing the web page you should have a last look at the page before it goes to the web. This will help you monitor what is out there for the whole world to see.
For online shoppers some things to be a part of your house rules would include where to shop and how to pay. Look into the shopping sites before making a purchase. Decide how safe they are in the checkout areas. If you have to log in to check out the site should be well protected. Nothing is 100% safe on the Internet so you should also look into using just one account to pay for on-line purchases. This way you can watch that account for any misuse.
E-mail addresses should be a part of your house rules for Internet usage. These should not be given out to people you do not know. It is a form of an address and can be traced back to your home if someone desires to do it. Attachments to the e-mails received should be opened carefully. They can contain viruses other undesirable subjects. Don’t allow attachments to be opened if you do not recognize the sender.
Chat rooms and instant messaging should also be a part of your house rules for Internet usage. Chat rooms should be by password only and you should approve who gets the address for the chat room. With a password protected chat room you’ll have less of a risk for strangers coming into your personal chat room. Instant messaging should not be done with people you are not familiar with. For both you should only invite those people you know personally and not others you meet on-line.
Things that should be part of your house rules for Internet usage will be dependent on what your family wants to use the Internet for. You should look at rules for everyone to keep both the people and the computer safe from harm. Try some rules at first and see how it goes. As the Internet users in your home become better at the computer you may look at other things to be included in your house rules.