Monday, March 5, 2007

Internet Safety - Do's and Don'ts For Parents

If you're new to the Internet, learn as much as you can about it so you can offer informed advice to your children. Find out what makes the Internet attractive to children and what it has to offer them so you can explore different sites together and help them avoid potential pitfalls and danger areas.

• Be aware when your children are using the Internet and establish some ground rules about when they're allowed to use it. You might want to restrict use to certain hours of the day so you can supervise your children while they surf.

• Make surfing a social activity by moving the computer out of the bedroom and in to a front room or a family room. That way, family members can be on hand to offer advice should problems arise.

• Always discourage your children from giving out personal information, such as their address, their school, their phone number or their photograph, especially in chat rooms and on bulletin boards. They need to be made aware that people on-line aren't always what they seem, even people who become pen friends or 'keypals'. Ask them about the friends they've made on the net - get to know their net friends as well as you know their real-life friends.

• Always discourage your children from planning face-to-face meetings with someone they've met on the Internet. Ask them to alert you if they are approached for a face-to-face meeting. Should your child set up such a meeting, always make sure you are present - never let them go alone.

• Consider using some of the filtering tools available. These are software programmes a user can install on his or her own computer to monitor Internet use, block access to specific types of material such as sexually explicit or violent material, prevent children from accessing the Internet at certain times, or prevent children from revealing personal information online. Browsers designed specifically for children are also available - these act as a gateway between your computer and the Internet by filtering out sexual or otherwise inappropriate words and images before they reach your screen. Some ISPs offer these filtering systems, other packages are available commercially.

• Teach your children never to open emails and attachments other than from people they know and trust - they could contain viruses or explicit material. Also, be careful when you and your children are shopping online. Check you are dealing with a bona fide company and that you are entering a 'secure site' before giving out any credit card details.

• Encourage your children to inform you if anything on a website or in a chat room or message board makes them feel uncomfortable. Tell them not to worry and that it's not their fault if they see something rude or someone's bothering them online. Teach them to leave the chat room or log off from the site immediately if they feel uncomfortable and to alert you of their concerns.

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Shyama said...

I like this, some parents over react and ban their kids from using the net. However like kids, they will disobey and use it at some education is the key.

Mark said...

I wanted to make you aware of a new site that was recently launched. The name is and a number of parent, law enforcement and educator volunteers have created the site targeting pre-teen children to give them an alternative to the myspace.coms of the world. A “white list” feature is built into the site which requires that parents approve anyone and everyone their child can communicate with…In other words, if my child wants to communicate via private messages with a friend then both parents must approve the other’s child as a buddy. In addition, parents can view every message received or sent from their child….and this is from any internet enabled computer. It does not require any download. There is lots of content for registered parents as well as cool and wholesome content for kids. The response has been tremendous. Kids this age are now starting to ask for email capabilities…before they get hooked on myspace or some other unsecured email or chat system this is a great opportunity to give them a safe online identity. Registration is totally free and the feedback from parents has been amazing….with lots of inquiries from the media who are considering feature articles and newscasts. Anyway, I wanted to make you aware…
Best regards,