Before Children and Teens Go Online

Use filtering software,which can be downloaded from many ISP's for free, in order to screen out adult content, hate speech and other objectionable material. Filtering software may also be purchased.

Find out where they go, by viewing your internet browser's history. Information that is tracked includes the title of the Web page, the Web site address, the time the site was visited and the number of times it was visited.

Keep tabs on their "virtual friends."Ask your child about their use of free e-mail and instant messages, two ways that children communicate with their friends privately, outside the scrutiny of the family's household e-mail address. Make sure that their e-mail and screen names bear no resemblance to the family e-mail address or to their names. Their personal profile, which may be viewed by strangers, should be left blank. Ask to see a list of the child's message "buddies," and find out with whom your child communicates.

Raise a smart consumer. Children should learn that private information they leave at a Web site when registering, entering contests and completing surveys might be used to help businesses sell more products to children like themselves. Along with your child, learn about the products promoted by the Web site offering free e-mail, as well as the Web site's privacy policy.

Spot a Problem?

Begin by sending a complaint to the offending Web site, but don't stop there. Contact the Web site's ISP, often identified at the bottom of the homepage, as well as your own ISP company. Report Web site and auction credit card fraud to your credit card company. You may also wish to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report potential legal violations. The FTC's Web site is,, or you can call them toll free at: 877-382-4357.

If you suspect deception or fraud in your dealings with individuals and businesses on the Internet, you may write to the Office of Consumer Protection, Division of Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 45025, Newark, New Jersey 07101 or you can call 973-504-6200, or if outside New Jersey, 800-242-5846, and ask for a complaint form. You may download a complaint form at:

 Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
 New Jersey Office of Consumer Protection Complaints