DOT IT – Online Safety – sample contracts for parents and children

Dot It –  to make sure you have a reminder of how you as a parent or child interact safe and smart online –  sign a contract, yes a contract is a good idea

Dot it Kids! Hold yourself and your parents accountable: 

You must absolutely be safe online.

Remember the mantra is Have Fun, Be Creative and BE SAFE!

A nick- name online is a wise idea, keep those passwords very private. Always check with your parents before downloading programmes and talk to them about the apps and programs you use or wish to use.

Get approval before you download or access.  Also, do not give away personal information – your real name, your location, your address, your school, your age, and your parents personal details or bank details or yours.  Do not share personal information about your family online.

Mind your manners and language online. Remember too, that online people sometimes pretend to be someone they are not – so check check with mom and/or dad.  Get mom and/or dad to approve e-mail and Instant Message requests.  Do tell tales to mom and /or dad about unpleasant and bad stuff you may come across online and also when someone sends them to you!

Do not ever send stuff by post to anyone you meet online unless you tell mom and  or dad. If someone sends you something by post – this is a problem –  as they have your personal information!  Go tell mom and /or  dad. Go now. Tell them.

Do not do anything online that makes you feel uncomfortable especially if you know mom and/ or dad will not approve.  Do not meet, call or post anything to someone you have met online.  Only meet someone you have met online if your parents approve and are with you.

Accept that mom and /or dad will supervise the time you spend online and set limits.

And kids, teach your parents about the Internet too.  Believe me you know a lot. Sometimes more than they do.

Here is an example of your contract. Go on, Print a copy and take to mom and/ dad to sign it.

This contract is attributable  and courtesy of the ITU.

Child’s Contract

I know that the Internet can be a wonderful place to visit. I also know that it is important for me to follow rules that will keep me safe on my visits. I agree to the following rules:

  1. Wherever possible I will choose a safe and sensible screen name for myself that will not broadcast any personal information about my family or me.
  2. I will keep all of my passwords private.
  3. I will discuss with my parents all of the different programmes and applications I use on my computer and on the internet, and talk to them about the sites I visit. Before 
I download or load a new programme or join a new site I will check with my parents firs to make sure they approve.
  4. When considering signing up to a new online service I will avoid those which demand too much personal information and try to opt for those which ask for less.
  5. I will always take steps to find out what personal information about me will be published
by the service by default in my profile and will always opt for the maximum degree of privacy.
  6. I will not share my personal information, or that of my parents or any other family member, in any way, shape or form, online or with someone I meet online. This includes, but is not limited to name, address, telephone number, age or school name.
  7. I will treat others the way I want to be treated.
  8. I will use good manners when I’m online, including good language and respect. I will not pick fights or use threatening or mean words.
  9. I will make my own personal safety my priority, since I know there are some people who might be online and pretend to be someone they’re not.
  10. I will be honest with my parents about people I meet online and will tell them, with- out always being asked, about these people. I won’t answer any e-mails or instant messages from anyone my parents have not approved.
  11. If I see or read things that are bad, icky or mean, I will log off and tell my parents so they can try to make sure it never happens again.
  12. I will tell my parents if I receive pictures, links to bad sites, e-mail or instant messages with bad language or if I’m in a chat room where people are using swear words or mean and hateful language.
  13. I will not send anything in the post to anyone I’ve met online, without my parents’ okay. If I get something in the post from someone I’ve met online, I’ll tell my parents immediately (because that means they have my private information).
  14. I will not do anything online that someone asks me to if it makes me feel uncomfortable, especially if I know it’s something my parents would not be happy about or approve of.
  15. I will not call, write a snail mail or meet in person anyone who I’ve met online without my parents’ approval or without a trusted adult coming with me.
  16. I understand my parents will supervise my time online and may use software to monitor or limit where I go online. They’re doing this because they love me and want to protect me.
  17. I will teach my parents more about the Internet so we can have fun together and learn cool new things.

I agree to the above.

Child signature                                                                    Date

I promise to protect my child’s safety online by making sure these rules are followed. If my child encounters unsafe situations and tells me, I will handle each situation with maturity and good sense, without blaming anyone, and will calmly work through it with my child to ensure their safer Internet experiences in the future.

Parent signature(s)                                                             Date

Dot it Mom and/ Dad:

You have to get involved – get to know the sites, set some rules and talk about them. You also have to be calm about the “bad “ that your kid finds online. Get to know those online friends, each and every one of them – and do not hesitate to take charge, as you do and go the authorities if you come across suspicious and / illegal activities.  And – you should advise and make a list recommended sites for your kids.  Remember to check sites your kid visit too. Check those filtering options and block the bad. In addition – do not do not disclose location!

Parent Contract

I know that the Internet can be a wonderful place for my kids to visit. I also know that I must do my part to help keep them safe on their visits. Understanding that my kids can help me, I agree to follow these rules:

  1. I will get to know the services and websites my child uses.
  2. I will set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by my children and I will discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder.
  3. I will not overreact if my child tells me about something “bad” he or she finds or does on the Internet.
  4. I will try to get to know my child’s “online friends” and Buddy List contacts just as I try to get to know his or her other friends.
  5. I will try to provide close sup- port and supervision of my younger children’s use of the Internet, for example by trying to keep their computer in a family area.
  6. I will report suspicious and illegal activity and sites to the proper authorities.
  7. I will make or find a list of recommended sites for children.
  8. I will frequently check to see where my kids have visited on the Internet.
  9. I will seek options for filtering and blocking inappropriate Internet material from my children.
  10. I will talk to my kids about their online explorations and take online adventures with them as often as I can.

I agree to the above.

Parent signature(s)                                                             Date

I understand that my parents have agreed to live by these rules and I agree to help my parents explore the Internet with me.

Child signature                                                                    Date



The sample contracts are attributed to

Digital citizenship comes with responsibility – have fun, be creative and be safe


EVERY person who uses the internet is a digital citizen. This status brings onerous responsibilities which we cannot shirk if we are to continue to enjoy the internet. The virtual world, you could say, is now as important as the real one.

But the enormous benefits of digital technology are matched by shadowy criminals who steal, bully and harass using sophisticated programs to conceal their identities. By far the most dangerous acts are directed against children. Sexual predators prey on their innocence, grooming them into traps they should have been warned about.

The latest report by the International Telecommunications Unions and the United Nations Children’s Fund and partners of the Child Online Protection Initiative, is a timely reminder of the inappropriate and dangerous environment that criminals have created within the internet.

This report, released on September 5, 2014, attracted hardly a whiff of media interest in the country. It’s a pity, because the media has done an excellent job in exposing online bullying among children and of disclosing the dangers of sexually deviant criminals monitoring chat rooms.

This is an extensive report that gives practical advice and formulates rules which will invariably contribute to the safety of children online. To suggest that the report is only about children would be incorrect. Adults would do well to read this simple written advice. Many adults would be surprised at the information that could help them and their children. While the report is for children, it remains the obligation of adults, parents and caregivers — all digital citizens — to absorb the contents of the report and to explain the safety rules to their children.

Digital citizenship is a lively and vibrant concept and we need to know more about it in order to take our place in the digital world. It is part of the safety theme calling for accountability from you, me, children and service providers, including developers. I would also add from caregivers and the government.

We all have an important role to play. We have to inspire, nurture and protect, as well as educate children and young people as they enthusiastically claim their space in the digital online space. Everyone must hold our digital citizenship consciously and carefully.

Digital citizenship is a state of mind to which all internet users must aspire if we are to hold the virtual space for effectively disseminating education, information and entertainment.

Explaining the concept of digital citizens the report says:

“The introduction of new technologies always carries the need to understand how to use it appropriately. We, including children and young people, can demand that the producers and providers build in as many safety features as possible, enabling us to make informed choices on matters, like for instance, revealing private information.”

“However, it is up to children and young people to carry the main responsibility of acting appropriately and respectfully online. Increasingly the term of digital citizenship is being used. Digital citizenship isn’t just about recognising and dealing with online hazards. It’s about building safe spaces and communities, understanding how to manage personal information, and about being internet savvy — using your online presence to grow and shape your world in a safe, creative way and inspiring others to do the same.”

It is about calling for safety features that require affirmative assent from parents before important personal and geolocation information are clicked through. It is about recognising online risks. It is about creating safe spaces as you claim your place in the digital world.

How to use the online social networks respectfully is also important. The mantra should be: Have fun, be creative and be safe!


Published in Business Day Live, 14 September 2014

Online Safety – TOOLKIT – SMART rules for smart kids

SMART rules for smart kids

Set your limits

Meeting online friends offline

Accepting invitations/friendships


Tell someone about your concerns


Using the Internet is Fun. Enjoy it by keep yourself safe.

Set Your Limits

  1. Do not let strangers in. You would not talk to a stranger in the real world, now would you? Be smart, responsible and safe online as well in real life.
  2. You have the right to use the Internet safely.
  3. Take care of your privacy. Surf wisely – stay away from sites that ask you for personal information.
  4. Use the privacy settings to protect your online profile so only your friends can see it.
  5. Best to use a nick name your friends can recognize. Consider skipping the photograph of yourself. Use an avatar or other image.
  6. Think twice before you post images online. Other people may use it. You can never know where it can end up.
  7. Do not accept harassment or bullying. Laws and decent behaviour are valid online too!
  8. You have the right to use the Internet safely and to set your own limits.
  9. Be smart, responsible and safe online as well as in real life!

Meeting online friends

  1. Think twice before meeting online friend/ request in real life.
  2. Tell your parent about such a request.
  3. If you do, take a trusted adult with you.

Accepting Invites/ Friendships

  1.  Most requests are from friends.
  2. You can also be connected to friends of friends.
  3. Be wary of accepting requests from strangers.
  4. If you do not actually know someone yourself, do you really want to share with them the same information you share with your friends?


  1. Do not knowingly access sites that are upsetting or distressing. If you see something that bothers you tell your parents or someone you trust.
  2. Ignore bad behaviour and block rude aggressive people.
  3. Block anyone approaching you using rude, threatening or intruding language. Save the message and show your parents or a trusted adult.
  4. Be alert if someone, especially a stranger wants to talk to you about sex. You can never be sure of the true identity or intentions of the person. This is a serious cause for concern. Tell your parents or a trusted adult so they can report it.
  5. If you have been lured or tricked into engaging in sexual activities or sending sexual images of yourself always tell a trusted adult to receive advice and help. No person has a right to things of that particular nature from a child or young person.

Tell someone your concerns

  1. If you have concerns or problems online, you need to tell someone you trust.
  2. Your parents or trusted adult can help and give you good advice on what to do.
  3. There are no problems too big to be solved!
  4. You can also call a child helpline in your country.
  5. Report harmful or inappropriate content or activities on sites to the site itself. Look for “Report abuse”  Button.
  6. Report illegal content to an Internet Hotline or police.
  7. Report illegal or possibly illegal activities to the police.
  8. In addition to taking good care if yourself, take care of your computer or mobile device.


  1.  You can disable tools that allow for friend requests on kids’ own devices.
  2.  Monitor kids’ devices often and let them know why. Safety first.
  3.  Check Privacy settings.
  4.  Do not geolocate.
  5. Talk to your kids often about online safety. Make them aware of the pitfalls.
  6. Get actively involved in their digital world as you do in their physical world.