Pointers for Parents:
"Surfing the Net", "Connecting to the Web", "Checking out a
Site", and "Talking on Chat Lines" may be terms that you have
heard recently while watching television, reading a
newspaper, or listening to the radio. These phrases are used
when talking about the Internet and the World Wide Web.
Children are learning about these resources from their
friends, in school, and at the public library. Conflicting
reports about the Internet and its resources have caused
confusion and fear, as well as excitement and unlimited
Children and the Internet
What Parents Should Know
What Parents Can Do
Internet Access at CLP
Guidelines for Parents
The Internet is a global network of information accessible
with a computer. Not only is the information presented with
words, but it also may be accompanied with pictures, sound,
and short video clips. There are literally thousands of
"sites" with educational and recreational information. These
sites are "linked" with other related sites to create a
"web" (like a spider web) of topics that provide all kinds
of information known as the World Wide Web. Almost anything
you want to know about can be found somewhere on the
Internet. People are free to put any information on the
Internet without identifying themselves.
Also on the Internet are "chat lines" or "talk rooms"
that allow people to have "computer conversations" on a
variety of topics. People write messages which are sent and
displayed on the computer screen. Anyone can participate in
discussions that range from football to the latest archaeological
find in Egypt.
The Internet and the World Wide Web
are not regulated and that opens the door to some risks.
Some information may not be accurate or appropriate for
children and teens. And, because the computer allows for
anonymity, websites may be rude, obnoxious and even sexually
Does this mean that you shouldn't allow your child to use
the Internet? Of course not, it simply means that you should
be alert and aware of the information on the Internet.
Talk to your child
Set rules together
Keep aware of computer services offered
Visit the library with your child
"Surfing the Net" can be an exciting family experience. The opportunities
to expand one's horizons are great. Make the most of them by sharing the
experience with your child.
If you need assistance, ask the librarian. Staff are knowledgeable and
available to help you.
Computers in public libraries, the Internet, and the World Wide Web are
here to stay. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh provides these resources,
free of cost, to residents of Allegheny County. We consider it our responsibility
to be a leader in providing information, though we are aware that some
of the information provided will be considered inappropriate for children.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers Internet
access, free of charge, to any person, regardless of age, who uses our
facilities.The Main Library and Branch Libraries have computers
in public areas for you or your child to use to look at websites of your
choice. This means, quite possibly, that your child may choose or select
and be exposed to information, words and pictures, that you would rather
he or she didn't see.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh encourages parents
to guide their children's Internet experiences, in the same manner as
they guide children's television viewing and reading material.
We want you to have a positive experience in our facilities and one way
to insure this is to accompany your child to the library. While we know
that this is not always possible, you should be aware that our staff cannot
control or censor any patron's Internet sessions. This does not mean that
we don't want your child to visit the library. We can help your child
find information, and our computers access not only the Internet but also
the On-Line Public Access Catalog. As a parent you need to be made aware
of the possibility that your child may choose and select, or see and read
materials that you could find offensive. Also be aware that any person
accessing or viewing inappropriate sites will be asked to close that site
and select a more appropriate one.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has developed a
"KidsPage," a screen on the computer to guide children and parents to
appropriate educational and recreational sites. As a parent, you
can use this "page" to guide your child's Internet sessions. Every effort
is made to insure that the selected sites are age and interest appropriate.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh does use a "filtering"
device to limit children's exposure to some websites. There are
basically two kinds of devices that limit the sites that can be visited.
One type blocks particular sites from viewing. The second device blocks
sites by words. For example, we could block the word "breast," but by
doing so we would eliminate information about breast cancer and healthy
low-fat recipes for chicken. We try to block particular sites that could
be offensive to some of our users. Please be aware, however, that filtering
devices are available only on machines designated for children's use and
may not block all material you find offensive.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh believes in open
access to information and is dedicated to being a force for education,
information, recreation and inspiration in the communities it serves.
The Internet resources available help us to help you find the
information you want and need. But, because the Internet is not regulated
and not monitored, we are placed in an awkward position. We continue to
rely on you as a parent to insure that your child has a positive, beneficial,
and fun experience at the library.
- The best way to assure that your child is having a positive experience
is to be aware of the kinds of information found on the Internet and
to stay in touch with what your children are doing. It is important
that you as a parent assume responsibility for your child's computer
use, at home, at school, or in the public library.
- Explore the wide range of information that is available and talk
with your child about topics you consider off- limits.
- In much the same way you supervise your child's television viewing,
watch the amount of time your child spends with the computer. The
same parenting skills that apply in the real world also apply in the
- If you or your child become aware of the transmission of child pornography,
report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- Stress to your child that he or she should not give out identifying
information such as home address, school name or telephone number.
- Set YOUR rules for the use of the Internet.
See also Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Internet
Safety and Use Policy, Online
Paper on Internet Access to Pornography by Children in the Library