"Blogging," "friending," "tagging," and "Googling" are all part of the new language of cyberspace. These are verbs children use every day to talk about what they do online. It is important that parents understand this new language and provide their children with guidance in navigating the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful tool for children to do research, play games, and communicate with family and friends. Unfortunately, just as people can be rude, obnoxious, and exploitative in person, the anonymity of the Internet can sometimes amplify poor behavior and create an environment that is not always appropriate for children.
The best way to ensure your child's safety on the Internet is by getting involved and setting rules for your child's use of the Internet.
Here are some other things you can do to help keep your child safe online:
NYPL's tips for children and teens can be found here.
The New York Public Library has created the following websites specifically for children and teens:
On-Lion: For Kids
Provides answers to questions about holidays, history, people, and places. Suggests great books for children of all ages to read and enjoy.
Provides a large selection of homework help databases containing millions of articles. Students can connect with tutors and librarians for live online homework help. Presented in cooperation with the Brooklyn Public library and Queens Library.
As required by the Children's Internet Protection Act, the Library has installed blocking/filtering technology on all computers at our branches with Internet access. Internet filtering software should not substitute for individual judgment and/or parental involvement and oversight. Filters are not a guarantee to block objectionable content. For further information, see The New York Public Library Policy on Public Use of the Internet below.
Last Updated November 20, 2008
To fulfill its mission of providing public access to information of all types in a wide range of formats, The New York Public Library provides access to Internet resources. The Internet offers access to many valuable local, national, and international sources of information. However, some information found on the Internet may be inaccurate, incomplete, dated, or offensive to some individuals. A good information consumer must evaluate the validity and appropriateness of information found.
Choosing and Evaluating Sources
The Internet is a series of communication linkages leading to a highly diverse array of information content. Library patrons use it at their own risk. In choosing sources to link to from its home pages, the Library follows its materials selection guidelines. Beyond this, the Library is not responsible for the content of the Internet, changes in content of the sources to which the Library home pages link, or for the content of sources accessed through secondary links. In an effort to assist its users, the Library has created websites for the general population, for teens, and for children to help guide them to sources that are accurate, complete, and current and that provide them with a wealth of information on the local, national, and global level. In addition, the Library provides training for members of the public to assist them in using the Internet in a safe, effective, and efficient manner. Finally, as set forth in greater detail below, in accordance with the Children's Internet Protection Act, the Library has implemented "technology protection measures" (i.e., software filtering) on all of its Internet-accessible computers.
As required by the Children's Internet Protection Act ("CIPA"), in order to remain eligible for certain federal funding, the Library has implemented software filtering on all of its Internet-accessible computer terminals. The software installed on Internet-accessible computers at the Library protects against access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and, in the case of persons under the age of 17 years, materials that are "harmful to minors." Users should be aware, however, that all currently available filtering software results in a degree of both "underblocking" (i.e., permitting access to certain material that falls within the foregoing categories) and "overblocking" (i.e., denying access to certain constitutionally protected material that does not fall within the foregoing categories). The Library has attempted to select filtering software that best complies with CIPA while providing Library users with the broadest possible access to constitutionally protected speech and information. The Library cannot and does not guarantee that the filtering software will block all obscenity, child pornography, or materials that are harmful to minors. Nor can the Library guarantee that the filtering software will not restrict access to sites that may have legitimate research or other value. In order to help address the overblocking problem and to enhance users' access to constitutionally protected speech and information, the Library requests that all users, both adults and minors, contact the Library at firstname.lastname@example.org (or at such other contact point as the Library shall designate from time to time) to request unblocking of an incorrectly blocked site. In addition, any user who is 17 years of age or older may disable the filtering software in order to obtain unfiltered Internet access for bona fide research or other lawful purpose by following the instructions provided on the computer screen or such instructions as the Library shall otherwise provide from time to time.
Access by Minors
Parents or legal guardians must assume responsibility for deciding which library resources are appropriate for their own children. Parents or legal guardians should guide their children in use of the Internet and inform them about materials they should not use. While the Library affirms and acknowledges the rights and responsibilities of parents and guardians to monitor and determine their children's access to Library materials and resources, including those available through the Internet, the Library has taken certain measures designed to assist in the safe and effective use of these resources by all minors.
Rules Governing Use
Due to the limited resources available for provision of public access to the Internet, the Library may set limits, for example, on use of large files of still or moving images or sound, or on downloading files in any medium. The Library also reserves the right to limit the amount of time an individual user can devote to a single session. The public must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, including laws governing the transmission and dissemination of information while accessing the Internet, and with all Library policies and procedures.
Users may not:
Violations may result in loss of access. Unlawful activities will be dealt with in an appropriate manner.
Public Users' Security
Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding users' activities. However, The New York Public Library will not release information on the use of specific Internet resources by members of the public except as required by law or necessary for the proper operation of the Library.
The Library reserves the right to take appropriate action to ensure compliance with this policy.
Guidelines on Access to Information
The New York Public Library is guided by the following American Library Association statements on access to information:
In general, the Library is guided by a commitment to access to information policies that provide appropriate protections to its patrons while being consistent with the Library's longstanding commitment to the principles of free expression as set forth in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Policy Subject to Revision
The Library's "Policy on Public Use of the Internet" may be revised from time to time.
As approved by the Board of Trustees on May 5, 2004.
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