Thursday, May 21, 2009

Internet Safety for Kids

Internet Safety for Kids

There was a day when parents only had to worry about "Street Smarts". If our kids had Street Smarts we didn't have to worry. Then along came the Internet. The Internet is a wondrous tool. It exposes our children to new ideas, cultures and people. But, it also exposes them to dangers.

In addition to resting a bit easier knowing that you have educated your kids to stay safe you will have the satisfaction of being involved in this increasingly important part of their lives. In today's hustle and bustle and with computers and the Internet becoming such an important part of all of our lives, it's a journey you can take together. The Internet really is presenting parents with the opportunity for "quality time for the new millennium."

Online Safety Guidelines for Parents

  1. Personal information stays personal. While this is an important rule for children it's also an important rule for parents. Giving information on your family and your children to the wrong person could be dangerous.
  2. Make sure your child doesn't spend all of his or her time on the computer.
  3. People, not computers, should be their best friends and companions.
  4. Keep the computer in a family room, kitchen or living room, not in your child's bedroom. This way parents can monitor what is happening when the child is online. Knowing you are watching, kids are less likely to put themselves in risky situations and you can safely oversee what's going on.
  5. Learn enough about computers so you can enjoy them together with your kids.
  6. Watch your children when they're online and see where they go.
  7. Make sure that your children feel comfortable coming to you with questions. This should apply to all situations including the computer. If your children feel they can trust you they are more likely to come to you with tough problems and questions.
  8. Keep kids out of chatrooms or IRCs unless they are monitored.
  9. Encourage discussions between you and your child about what they enjoy online. This way you can direct your children to safe sites that fit in with their interests and it helps our children like we want an active role in their lives.
  10. Discuss these rules, get your children to agree to adhere to them, and post them near the computer as a reminder.
  11. Help them find a balance between computing and other activities.
  12. Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer.
  13. Get to know their "online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends.
  14. Warn them that people may not be what they seem to be. I can say I'm a 12 year old boy named Billy but I'm not. The Internet provides a cover for people to put on whatever persona's they desire. Predators often pose as children to gain our children's trust.
  15. Passwords: Don't give out your passwords and change them frequently.

Excerpt from www.wiredkids.org