Just when you think they are safe on the Internet, something else pops up. Setting parental restrictions on the child’s computer is helpful. However, it is important to use tools and filters to help keep improper and objectionable sites from your kids. You can start by using the filters your Internet service provider (ISPs) has to offer for keeping kids safe.
Keeping your children safe, some things to consider:
- Photo sharing or cute avatar? Instead of a photo, have your child post a cartoon character. There are a great many sites with free or low cost graphics.
- Personal information. Instruct your child not to give actual locations or addresses. While “I am in grade school” may be o.k. “I am in the 6th grade at “Hoover Jr. High School” is not.
- Child may fib about age. It may seem cool to a child to increase his or her age, it can be very dangerous. Predators often look for older children who look younger than they are.
- Answering e-mails. This can be tricky. If the child does not recognize a name, he should not open the e-mail. If he does open an e-mail from a stranger, he should not answer. Teach child to notify you in such cases.
- Group personal sites. If children are allowed to use these sites, they should be monitored very carefully by a parent. A link with a friendly sounding name can hold unacceptable material.
- Parental Snooping--should you? Explain the realities of ‘surfing the net’, being online, and posting in groups. Tell your children that you will be checking their sites from time-to-time to make sure they are safe. Even if you don't do thie, it will keep children on their toes.
Limit the time your children are allowed to stay online. Internet time limits will not stop bad things, bad people, or bad sites from cropping up, but it may keep them at bay. Too much time online often allows for idle and I am curious searching. Have you ever been researching or simply searching for something in particular and reach an odd site by mistake. Many times you will ignore this and continue on with your search, but not always, sometimes curiosity gets the best of you. If this can happen to adults, it can also happen to children.
Become cyber vigilant!