Internet Safety Tips
January 13, 2010 (WPVI) -- Here are some guidelines in helping keep your child safe online.
- 1. Place the computer in a common room such as family room, kitchen or living room. As parents we would not allow our children to bring strangers to their bedroom but when they are alone in their room with the Internet they can "hang" with any of the 1.67 billion people worldwide who use the Internet.
2. Talk to your children about the dangers they face now and in their future. Make sure that your children know there are dangers they could face and what those dangers are. Don't forget to make sure they know how their activities could affect their future. I.e. once a picture is posted on the Internet it can never be pulled back. What they post today may be found by an employer in the future.
3. Become involved with your child's on-line activities. If your child plays on-line games, talk to them about who they play with. Ask if they chat with the other gamers and become familiar with the game site.
4. Be reasonable with what you allow them to do. Don't just tell your children they can't be part of an online community such as Facebook. Often they will just open an account from another computer. It is better to allow it, set up the safety features you want them to have and monitor their activity.
5. Never allow your child to have a telephone conversation or an unsupervised meeting with someone they meet on line.
6. Enable Internet filtering features if they are offered by your provider. Don't allow your children to set up their own account unless you are with them and can have a say in what filters are being applied.
7. Install monitoring software on the computers that your children use. Make sure you know what your children are doing, check up often and discuss any activity that you find dangerous or objectionable.
8. Know all of your child's screen names and passwords. Remember you can't keep your children safe if you can't see where they go. You pay the bill for the Internet use, you have the final word on how it is used.
9. Remember that these rules apply to cell phones, gaming systems and many hand held devices. Most kids today have cell phones with texting and camera functions. Many have complete Internet access. You need to check their text messages and pictures for "sexting". Sexting is being done by children as young as 11 years old. X Box, Wii and other game systems that connect to the Internet can have chatting and or Internet access. I Pod Touch can have Internet access.
10. The computer is a lousy babysitter!!
parenting, matt o'donnell
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