Internet Safety For Kids: How & Why Parents Should Learn About the Internet Protecting Your Kids On The Internet
We hear of online predators all the time. You hear about things you can do to protect your children. Have you done them? We have two children that use the internet every day. Below are some of the rules we use that can help you make sure the internet is a safe place for your own children.
Make sure an adult approves adding an email address. Don’t allow your kids to send emails to people they don’t know, or subscribe to emails on websites. This can send junk mail to your children’s email box. Junk mail can contain information you do not want your children reading, as well as links to websites.
Keep the computer in a visible place in your house. If your children are surfing in private, you don’t know what they are viewing. It’s so easy to find bad stuff on the internet. Make sure you can see what your kids are visiting.
Go in after your child has gone to bed and check the internet history to see what websites they have visited. If you feel like they have been sending inappropriate emails, you can check their email also. You can see what they have sent and what they have deleted.
Provide a list of favorites for the websites they are allowed to visit. If they have heard about a new website, check it out first to make sure it is kid friendly. Don’t allow them to search through Google or another search engine. Making sure they stick to the approved list increases the odds that their internet viewing will be safe.
Following a few suggestions can help ensure that your children are safe when online. Our children live in a different world from the one we grew up in. Make sure they are safe.
If you are you the parent of a child who uses the internet or the parent of a child who will start using the internet soon, you should know that the internet is a great way to stay up-to-date on the news, do research for school projects, and communicate with friends, but it can also be very dangerous. As a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that your child stays safe online. Unfortunately, for this to happen you must know your way around a computer and the internet. Do you?
A child should never know more than a parent does about the internet. At the very least, you should know about the same. If you are looking to block adult websites or websites that have offensive language, it will not do you any good if your teenager knows ways to get around the parental controls that you set. That is why it is important that you know how to use a computer and the internet or learn if you don’t know.
Another reason why you should be well educated on the internet and computer use is because you are better able to fully understand the dangers of them. You may hear that an internet predator approached or kidnapped a child on the news, but you may automatically assume that it will not happen to your child. Unfortunately, until you understand how the internet works, you really have no idea. Does your child use internet chat rooms or social networking websites? If so, do you know how easy the internet makes it for someone to create a whole new, fake identity?
A good understanding of computer and internet use can better enable you to protect your child. Do you know that Internet Explorer, the browser that comes standard, has a free parental control option that just needs to be activated? A few easy steps and you can have certain websites blocked from your child. Unfortunately, you won’t know this if you don’t know all that you can know about the computer or the internet. Speaking of the internet, additional online safety tools for parents can be purchased online as well.
Now that you know the importance of staying in the know about the internet and a computer in general, you may be curious as to how you can go about doing so. The good news is that there are a number of ways that you can learn all that you need to know about computer and internet use. A few of these ways are outlined below for your convenience.
Teaching yourself is an easy way to learn about the internet and computer use. In fact, what better way is there than to just jump on the computer and see what you can find. For starters, examine your computer or your internet browser for free internet safety tools for parents. You may also want to visit some of the websites that your child visits, just to see what they are subjecting themselves to. Visit their online profile for MySpace, Facebook, or another social networking website. Does it make you uneasy? Are the discussions taking place in your child’s favorite chat room too adult?
You can also ask a trusted friend or relative for help. Do not ask your child or teenager for help though. If they know that you want to set up parental controls or keep tabs on their internet use, they may withhold important information from you. Instead, invite a trusted friend or relative over for coffee and lunch and let them show you the ins and outs of the internet. All you really need is a couple of hours.
You can also take an internet or computer education course. These courses are sometimes offered for free or for an affordable fee by local community groups, colleges, or vocational training centers. In fact, see if your child’s school offers anything. Some schools host informational seminars for parents on internet safety about once a year.
Should You Let Your Child Post Pictures and Videos Online?
Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who uses the internet, namely social networking websites like MySpace? If you are, your child may be interested in posting pictures or videos of themselves online, if they haven’t already done so. Should you let them?
When it comes to determining if you should let your child post personal pictures and videos of themselves online, you, as the parent, should have the final say. With that said, it is first important to examine the pros and cons of letting your child post these items online. Pictures and videos are common on social networking websites, like MySpace and Facebook.
In all honesty, the only true pro or plus side to letting your child post videos or pictures of themselves online is because it is what your child wants to do. Letting them post their pictures and videos online will likely make your child happy. They can easily share videos and pictures with friends, as opposed to actually bringing them to school.
As much as your child or teenager may want to post personal pictures or videos of themselves online, it is also important to know that there are many cons or downsides to doing so. One of those is the wrong impression. Say you have a teenager daughter who posts a picture of herself wearing a low-cut shirt online. Even though no cleavage is showing, the picture can create the wrong impression. Sexual online predators may think she is welcoming attention, and so forth. You and your child need to know that not everyone interprets things the same way.
Speaking of the wrong impression, it is important to know that pictures and videos can easily fall into the wrong hands online. If your child is using a social networking website, like MySpace, is their profile set to private? If not, anyone with their own account can view their private and personal pictures and videos. Your child may be interested posting pictures and videos to share with their friends, but that doesn’t meant that others can’t see them. Unfortunately, those others can have impure intentions.
Another con or downside to letting your child post personal pictures and videos of themselves online is that they are easy to copy. Yes, a picture or a video can be taken down, but did you know that it may already be too late? People can easily copy and repost or copy and save videos and pictures that are posted online for whatever reason, including their own personal pleasure.
As you can see, there are a number of pros and cons to letting your child post pictures and videos of themselves online, namely on social networking websites. As the parent, the decision is yours to make, but be sure to use your best judgment. When it doubt, the best answer may be no.
If you do decide to let your child or teenager post personal pictures and videos of themselves online or if you already think that they do, be sure to check them. Ask to see the photos yourself. Make sure that your child is well covered in any photographs that they post. As for videos, make sure they aren’t doing anything illegal, like stealing, or showing anything suggestive, even if it is simply meant as an inside joke among friends.
What to Do When Your Child Will Not Follow Your Rules
When it comes to internet safety rules that you have set in place, it is important that your child follows them. Why? Because their health and safety is, literally, at risk. Not following your internet safety rules should be treated differently than a child who doesn’t clean their room. The situation is much more serious. If your child doesn’t follow the rules that you have set concerning internet use, they may unintentionally find themselves a target of a child predator.
What you will want to do is re-talk to your child. Be sure that they are clear on your rules. For example, if your child is allowed to use social networking websites, what are they not allowed to have posted on their profile? Do you not want them to have personal information or personal pictures or videos shown? Restate all rules that you have for your child and instruct them to start following them right away.
If your child still isn’t following your internet safety rules all of the way, you will want to give them one final warning. Let them know that there are serious consequences to their actions. However, there is one important exception to this step. If you suspect that your child is communicating with strangers online, like those who may be sexual predators, bypass the final warnings, as your child may already be in over their head.
As for what steps you should take next, you can ban your child from using the internet. This is the strictest form of punishment and likely the one that will send the clearest message. If your child must use the internet for school, like for a school research project, only let them do so when you are sitting right next to them. You can also make them do their research at their local library. This is a great way to make your child understand the importance and consequences of not following rules.
Another approach that you can take is to block the websites that you want to keep your child away from. For example, if you asked your child or teenager not to post personal pictures or videos of themselves online, but they still continue to do so, block the social networking websites that they use. If you have Internet Explorer, this is easy to do. First, open a new internet window. Then, from the drop-down menu select “Tools,” and then “Internet Options,” and then click on the “Content Tab.” Finally, under the heading of “Approved Sites,” you can also enter in the websites you want blocked.
You may also want to let your child use the computer when you are home or in the room. If they have their own computer, make them relocate it into a well traveled area, such as your living room. Speaking of which, if your child uses a family computer, you should always make sure that it is in an area where you can easily see what your child is doing online. This is a nice approach, as your child is still able to use the internet, but you are able to keep a close eye on them, making sure that they are following your rules.
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