Top 10 Internet Safety Tips for Parents

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Internet safety is a top concern for today's parents. Kids are itching for online freedom and all the benefits the Internet has to offer, but parents aren't always ready to hand over that responsibility to their kids. Don't just ignore it. Face the issues head on, determined to make the Internet a safe, healthy place for your kids.

Internet safety is a top concern for today's parents. Kids are itching for online freedom and all the benefits the Internet has to offer, but parents aren't always ready to hand over that responsibility to their kids. Don't just ignore it. Face the issues head on, determined to make the Internet a safe, healthy place for your kids.

Be Open

When you decide it's time to let the kids start exploring the online world, first talk with them about the benefits and dangers of the Internet. It may be uncomfortable, but let your child know about predators and solicitors online. Tell them about the traps before they fall in them. Second, make clear rules about what will be and won't be tolerated when they are online. If there are certain sites you prefer they visit, make a list. If there are some you don't want them on, make a list of those as well. If your child will be joining any membership or password-protected websites, such as having an email account or getting into Facebook, let them know that you will be actively hopping in, checking their communication, here and there. If kids know it's happening, they won't later feel intruded upon.

Be Involved

When you get kids started on the Internet, put the computer in an open area where the family spends a great deal of time. You don't need to hover, but you can peek in as you pass by. Second, don't peer over his shoulder. Instead, casually and normally comment as you see things. "Oh, that's a funny video," or "That looks like a neat project," are simple enough. Making it normal conversation will dull the alluring nature of the Internet. Always follow through with your promises to step into his communication. You don't have to be obvious, but make it clear that you have the time and interest to stay involved. Finally, limit the amount of time your child spends on the Internet, especially in the evening. The Internet shouldn't be the ultimate source of entertainment for the family. Pull out board games, have dessert around the table and get to know one another.

Be Wise

If you suspect a problem, the first step is not to ignore it. If your child has never given you reason to worry, you shouldn't necessarily jump to conclusions, but if you see or notice suspicious behavior, don't ignore it. Talk with your child about behavior that seems to be leading in the wrong direction, such as giving too much information in a chat room. If you notice inappropriate or dangerous behavior by predators interacting with your child, contact the authorities immediately. Be honest with your child about any precautions you take. Remember that it's the predator who is in the wrong. A child — no matter how silly — is still a child.

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