A Parent's Guide To Cyber Safety For Kids Online:
While the Internet opens up a world of information to our children it also leaves them open to many hidden dangers lurking in cyberspace.
As parents it's our duty to provide all of the educational resources and opportunities to our children that we can.
However it would be foolhardy to send our children on such an adventure without a roadmap and the guide.
While we want our children to explore and grow, using the Internet without some common sense rules often invite disaster. You can see it in the news almost every day we hear about another child getting involved with an online predator and the unfortunate results of that meeting.
So here are a few things you should consider talking with your child or teen about before letting them to venture online.
Set aside some time to explore the Internet with your child. Make it fun; let your child take the lead. Ask them to show you some of their favorite places online, then you can show them some special sites specifically designed for children.
By taking the time to do this and sharing those first few Internet experiences with your child, you'll be providing a road map for them concerning the type of things they should do or not do online, and the kind of behavior you expect from them when they're online.
Introduce The Concept Of Internet Safety / Online Safety To Your Kids
As hard as it may be, sit your children down and teach them about the dangers that lurk online. Of course take into account the age and maturity level of your child, you should also discuss sexual exploitation, pornography, violence, and hate web sites.
Teach them child about how to respond when confronted with the sort of material or aggressive or sexually explicit Instant Messages or Chats.
Children look to their parents from guide for guidance. Once they understand the boundaries and limits that you expect, you give them a clear guide post and relieve them of the burden of having to make those sorts of decisions on their own.
Next, select the online service provider or ISP that offers Parental control software or Parental control and Internet monitoring or Internet filtering features.
This Parental control software can block web sites that are not clearly marked as appropriate for children. And this even includes chat rooms, instant messages, newsgroups, and web sites; or even access to the Internet itself.
You should also consider buying Internet filtering, monitoring software or Parental control software. These Parental control software programs offer different features that can block url's by name, unacceptable words and even restrict access to sites containing those words, block entire categories of material, and even prevent children from revealing personal information.
Additionally it's always a good idea to monitor your child when they are online as well as the total time they spend online.
Let your children know that they should:
Let you know right away if they find something scary, threatening or confusing on the Internet.
Never to give out their name, your family name, address, telephone number, password, school name, or any other private information.
Never to agree to meet face-to-face with someone they've met online. (Even at the mall)
Never to respond to abusive messages or that have bad words or insults.
Never to login to a web site that charges for services without asking your permission first.
Never send a picture of himself or herself to anyone without your explicit permission.
What you can do in your community to help with Internet Safety:
Check to make sure that the Internet access provided at your child's school is monitored at all times. A simple phone call to the school's library should give you the peace of mind you need. If not, you should suggest that the school install Parental control software or at the very least Internet monitoring software.
Take the time to get to know both your children's friends (online too) and your child's friends parents as well. When you are child visits one of her friends homes, be sure to talk with the parents about the rules they may have set up regarding how the computers used online.
If they've never heard of Parental control software, refer them to this web site.
Make sure that your child's school has an "acceptable use policy," also called and "AUP." This policy should define a list of acceptable and unacceptable activities or resources, information or netiquette (etiquette on the Internet), as well as the consequences for its violation.
Children can be made accountable when using public school computers through the use of Parental control software and Internet safety policies.
If your child EVER receives threatening e-mails or pornographic material, you should save the offensive material and contact both your and the senders Internet service provider with a complaint and report. Then contact your local law-enforcement agency.
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