Internet safety is just as important as safety in the streets, on playgrounds and all other venues. Predators, as well as the foolishness and the curiosity of children, make the Internet a dangerous place for kids to hang out alone. By preparing children properly for their experience online, you can give them the tools necessary to be safe and wise online. Keep the Internet a positive, educational, enriching location by being proactive. Don’t wait for something to happen. Stop it in its tracks.
Set up a small desk in an open, family area, such as a living room or kitchen. Turn the sound up. Make sure you can both see and hear it while you are cooking or helping with homework.
Educate yourself first before you let your kids get onto the computer. Play around on your computer. Make a bookmarked list of the websites your children will be allowed to access. Set up parental controls offered by your Internet service provider or your specialty parental control software.
Talk with your children about this new privilege that you are about to grant them. Be honest about the dangers of the Internet. Show your child the difference between legitimate, safe websites and those that might be soliciting information. Be clear to your kids about which websites you will and will not allow them to access. Remind them that you will be monitoring their activities, including any social networking.
Type a list of rules your children will be asked to follow. Write down how long each child will be allowed online per day or week. Make a list of which communication and networking sites they are allowed to join. Write down their user names and passwords so you can keep them safe and honest on those sites. Avoid spying on them, which might drive them underground. Keep the communication open about these sites. If you suspect any problems, revoke Internet privileges until the behavior improves.
- little computer specialist image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com