Every since the World Wide Web has been available, there have been people who use it to prey on others. As a parent, you are aware of the growing risk to your children’s safety when they are using the internet. Therefore, it is the parent’s duty to learn how to safely surf the internet, then teach each child individually by guiding them through the mine field that is ever present online. Yes, this may seem over the top, but I wanted to stress the dangers that exist online.
First, you, the parent need to educate yourselves about Internet Safety. If there is a local adult education class given at your college, city library or other organization, please take it. There are also many great resources on the internet that you can use. The more that you learn, the more you can safeguard and teach your child.
5 guidelines you can use when discussing safety on the Internet with your children.
1) Have a very open and honest conversation with your children about internet safety. Explain that the computer will be kept in a family room and that you will be monitoring their computer usage daily.
2) Make sure that the kids understand they are not to give out any personal information over the internet. That includes their name, address, birthday, social security number or school name.
3) Establish a username for your child to use on different websites so they are not using their real name. Then instruct your children to use this username.
4) Do not allow them to use the chat rooms online, period. No discussion. Too much personal information is gleamed from chat rooms.
5) Stress to your child that if they are ever the victim of cyberbulling or inappropriate contact by email they are to notify you immediately.
6 steps that you, as a parent can take to safeguard your children while they are online.
1) Install online tools that can block and filter the internet sites your children can access.
2) Talk to your Internet Provider and see if they offer any parental control options with their service. If they do, use them.
3) Physically sit down with your child at the computer and teach them how to safety use the Internet.
4) Have your children’s email sent through your email account so that you can monitor them. Better yet, you can sign your child up for an email account through kidsemail.org. Try it for Free today!
5) Make a point of walking by the computer while your child is using it, so they are aware that you are monitoring what they are doing online.
6) If your child comes to you with information about being a victim of cyberbullying or receiving inappropriate information take the threat seriously. Praise your child for coming forward immediately with the information and take the appropriate steps to report it to your IP service provider, local police department and/or the FBI.
By following the steps above you will be able to help keep your children safe on the internet. Remember, that this is an ongoing process. Never let your guard down for a moment. Make sure that the children are following your guidelines, and let them see that you are monitoring their online usage. That way, the children will start being more careful about what they are doing online and start monitoring their own online behavior.
Have more tips for keeping our children safe online? Please share them in the comments below!
For more information about keeping your children safe on the internet, visit the sites below:
Kidshealth.org Internet Safety http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/net_safety.html#
YouTube Video How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Q9dC_ekyD64
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998 http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm