Nettys World - Parents Guide
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Netty's World Information for Parents


What is Netty's World?

Netty's World is designed for young children (2-7 years of age) starting out on the Internet. It provides an interactive and safe learning environment for children and emphasises important messages about Internet safety.

NetAlert encourages parents to take their children through the online storybook, "Netty's Net Adventure" where important Internet safety messages are revealed through five adventures.

The concept of five forget-me-nots (Be Nice, Get Help, Think Again, Stay Safe and Secure and Protect What's Private) appear in the adventures and these collectively form the Internet safety messages young children should remember when using the Internet.

After Netty's Net Adventure is completed, children are encouraged to explore the "Fun and Games" section of the website, where the five forget-me-nots message is reinforced.

Children can also join "Netty's Club" where offline Internet safety activities (such as bookmarks, stickers and pencil holders) are sent free in the mail. The offline activities help remind children of the five forget-me-nots they learned in Netty's World.

Children and parents are encouraged to use Netty's World together in the family environment.


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Netty's Net Adventure Information for Parents


What is Netty's Net Adventure

Netty's Net Adventure is an online interactive where Netty (NetAlert's Internet safety character) travels through a number of adventures similar to those young children will likely encounter when they start using the Internet.

At the end of each adventure, children see how five forget-me-nots (Be Nice, Get Help, Think Again, Stay Safe and Secure and Protect What's Private) relate to the story they have just experienced. There are three levels in each adventure, starting with safe lessons and finishing with lessons showing the children the areas in which they need to be careful. The lesson topics increase in complexity, so children first starting out on the Internet should do the first level in all the adventures before proceeding to the higher levels.

An All Star Quiz is included with each adventure. This gives the opportunity for children with a more developed understanding to test their skills.

Who is Netty's Net Adventure Designed For?

Netty's Net Adventure is aimed at children 2-7 years of age, starting out on the Internet. It can be seen as a starting point for Internet safety, just as families introduce other safety concepts such as fire, water and road safety.

It is important, however, that a parent/guardian helps the child through the adventures as many opportunities will present themselves for discussion on Internet safety. Parents can help children in the decision making process.


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What are Netty's Five Forget-Me-Nots?

Netty's Net Adventure contains five forget-me-nots for young children to remember when they are on the Internet. Getting children to remember these forget-me-nots will help empower them to make the right decisions when they encounter Internet safety issues on the Internet.

Netty's five forget-me-nots are:

#1 Be Nice
#2 Get Help
#3 Think Again
#4 Stay Safe and Secure
#5 Protect What's Private

#1 Be Nice

Children should be nice to anyone they meet on the Internet as well as people that are helping them use it. Just as children use manners in real life, they should transfer these behaviours to the online environment.

Talk to children about the importance of using manners at all times - even when on the Internet. "Netiquette" is a term derived from the words "Internet & Etiquette" and relates to how people treat each other online.

Making sure children have a good Netiquette will help them stay safe when online. Reinforce to them the importance of treating others how they want to be treated and to not bully or treat people badly.

Because the Internet can make people feel anonymous, children may take advantage of this fact and treat others online differently to how they would in real life. It is important to stress that people should be treated the same whether they are online or in real life.


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#2 Get Help

Young children may often feel the need for help when they are using the Internet. They may simply be lost when surfing the World Wide Web, encounter some unsavory content or be contacted by a person when online, be confused by an Internet marketing tool (such as a pop-up-window) or experience a problem with equipment or the connection to the Internet.

Making sure you have worked out a supervision strategy for your children can help allay many Internet safety problems they may encounter. Being there to offer help and support is a great way to keep them safe online.

You may encourage children to seek your help when they encounter something on the computer that scares them or makes them worried. In addition, getting them to talk to older brothers and sisters and relatives may help them stay safe.

#3 Think Again

Children can often experience difficulties on the Internet when they do things without spending enough time thinking about what it actually is they are doing and what the consequences may be.

Young children will be attracted to things on web sites that are colourful, move, make a nice sound or look attractive. Often they will click on something for one of these reasons and can end up in an unsafe situation. Other times they may read something on a web site and believe it is real - no questions asked.

It is important to encourage children to "Think Again" before they take an action when on the Internet. Stress to them that everything that is published on the Internet is not necessarily the truth and things you click on are not necessarily safe. If they are in doubt about something, encourage them to "Think Again" and then get help if still unsure. It is better to be safe than sorry!


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#4 Stay Safe and Secure

There are a number of risks on the Internet that children need to protect themselves from:
  • Content Issues - things they may see online or what they download;
  • Contact Issues - people they may come in contact with when on the Internet; and
  • Commercialism - issues of a commercial nature such as marketing and advertising.
Children need to be aware of these risks and stay as safe and secure as possible. Installing filtering and anti-virus software on computers can help protect them from many of these risks. Remember though, installing some family safety software once and then forgetting about it is often not enough. Make sure all family safety software you install is up-to-date and can work effectively as a tool to ensure your children stay safe. Always check with NetAlert about software that is appropriate to use.

Parental supervision is also vitally important to help children stay safe and secure on the Internet. Ensure you have worked out a supervision strategy for your children and they stick to the guidelines you set.

#5 Protect What's Private

Young children are vulnerable to giving out private information to people they meet online or in things they publish on the Net. Private information includes things like name, age, address, hobbies, where they go to school, photos with names attached etc. Basically anything that can identify them and lead people to them should not be shared.

Talk to children about how some people on the Internet are not who they say they are and that they should also be nice to people but never reveal any information that may identify them - even to people they think they know well.

There have been many cases around the world where paedophiles have made friends with children using the Internet and then arranged to meet them in real life. This is a danger that needs to be discussed with children, so they never find themselves in such a situation. If they have met somebody on the Internet - make sure you know about it.

Children also need to know the importance of keeping their passwords private. While it may seem a good idea to share passwords with friends, once others know the password they are in a position to act as if they were your child. Passwords should be kept secret and only shared with you.


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The Adventures


There are five adventures in Netty's Net Adventure with each adventure having three levels. Through each of these levels issues are raised which can prompt discussion on important Internet safety topics. It is important for parents to initiate discussion where appropriate.

The adventures, levels and areas for discussion can be summarized as follows:

Adventure Levels Internet Safety Discussion Topics
#1 Exploring the Net #1 Using a Kid Safe Web Site

#2 Going Beyond Kid Safe Web Sites

#3 Exploring the World Wide Web
  • Knowing what the Internet is and what potential dangers there are
  • Safe navigation of the World Wide Web
  • Coming across inappropriate content such as pornography
  • Being aware of online advertising and marketing
  • False information on the Net
  • Buying something online
#2 Getting Things off the Net #1 Using a Kid Safe Web Site

#2 Going Beyond Kid Safe Web Sites

#3 Exploring the World Wide Web
  • Downloading
  • Viruses
  • Spyware
  • Security and Password Issues
  • Games
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Getting free things
#3 Using Smart Phones #1 Safe Use of Smart Phones

#2 Tricky Bits When Using Smart Phones

#3 A Smart Phone is Only as Smart as Its User!
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Short Message Service (SMS)
  • Surfing the World Wide Web with mobile devices
  • Cameras on phones
  • MP3 Players
  • Costs of using devices
  • Phones are more like computers than normal phones
#4 Putting Work on the Net #1 Being Polite

#2 Not Sure When to Use Manners?

#3 When Manners Are Not Used
  • Privacy
  • Knowing what is or is not appropriate to publish
  • Understanding that once something is published online it may be impossible to remove
  • The difficulties in sending large files across the Internet
  • Understanding that just because something is published on the Internet it is not necessarily true
  • Blogs
  • Discussion groups
#5 Making Friends on the Net #1 Safely Making Friends

#2 Be Careful When Making Friends on the Net

#3 Beware When Making Friends on the Net
  • Understanding that there are both good and bad people on the Internet
  • Be careful how much personal information is revealed to other people
  • People might appear to be someone but in real life they are someone else
  • The importance of using manners, 'Netiquette' at all times
  • Videoconferencing
  • Web Cams
  • Multi-user games
  • Chat rooms


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The Adventures and the Five Forget-Me-Nots


After completing the adventures children will have the opportunity to see how each of the forget-me-nots relates to the story. Parents should take the opportunity to reinforce the forget-me-nots when ever possible - particularly after an adventure or quiz has finished.

It would be the goal for children not to necessarily remember each lesson in the adventures but instead remember the forget-me-nots that can be applied to situations they encounter online.

The forget-me-nots can be reinforced through printing out the summary sheet, playing the games or by joining Netty's Club.

Netty's Club


Netty's Club is a free offline Club young children can join to be reminded about the five forget-me-nots of Internet safety (Be Nice, Get Help, Think Again, Stay Safe and Secure and Protect What's Private).

Children are sent Internet activities for free through the mail to reinforce what they have learned from Netty. A list of the activities that have previously been sent can be viewed at www.nettysworld.com/NettysClub/whatyouget.html.

Children's privacy is of the utmost importance and any personal information received through a Netty club membership will never be used for any other reason. It is a requirement that an adult or guardian gives permission for children to join the club and hence a signature is required on the membership form.

Groups of children from early childhood institutions are also encouraged to join.


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