Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Internet Safety: Keeping Your Kids Safe on the Internet

Back in the day, when it was time to work on a school project, I would dust off my trusty set of encyclopedias or cozy up to a desk in the library and use reference books. Nowadays, students have a wonderful resource…the Internet!
The Internet is chalked full of information on any and all subjects. There is no better learning tool around. But with great access to information also comes great danger. There are many Web sites with harmful information readily available for children to view. How do we keep our kids safe while surfing the Internet?

First off, we should warn our children about the dangers of the Internet, especially chat rooms and social networking sites where not everyone is who they seem. Dangerous strangers your kids meet online could coax them into meeting in person. Also, teach your children not to give out any personal information on the Internet to anyone.

Beyond that, there are many tips on how to keep your children safe on the Internet:

- Keep the computer screen in plain view so your kids know there is always the possibility someone can see what they are searching for on the Internet.

- Keep tabs on what your child is viewing through your browsing history. If the browsing history is deleted for some reason, investigate why.

- Share an e-mail account with your child or know your child’s password so you can monitor messages being sent to and from your child.

- Bookmark your child’s favorite sites so they don’t accidentally go to a harmful Web site. (For instance, your child may be typing in “Legos” but accidentally searches for “legs” instead and they are taken to pornographic Web site.)

- Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software. Also consider using filtering software to limit the Web sites your children can access.

- If your child belongs to a social networking site, such as Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace, monitor what your child is posting. Talk to them about putting only appropriate information on these sites.

Remember, monitoring your child’s Internet activity is not a violation of your child’s privacy. It is your responsibility as a parent to keep your child safe.

For more information on how to keep your child safe while surfing the Internet, be sure to check out the iKeepSafe Web site. It has valuable tips and information for parent s and children on Internet safety.

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