Keeping Children Safe Online
Keeping Children Safe Online
In today's world, the internet is a common part of everyday activities. Children use it for a variety of purposes, from assistance with homework and research, to the newest trend of social media. Many children today have their own profile on Facebook or MySpace. Not surprisingly, plenty of parents have concerns about safe use of the internet by their children.
Some of the common fears about internet use have traditionally been potential contact with the many websites inappropriate to children, which are not difficult for a child to stumble across without even trying. In addition to this, today parents must also worry about potential online predators and issues of what is known as "cyber-bullying" as well. Of these two, the predators may be the lesser concern in reality. According to Larry Magid of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, "the overwhelming majority of youth are not in danger of being harmed by an adult predator they meet online." This is based on the findings of the Task Force on internet predators and children.
It is still important to be aware of the many potential dangers of your children using the internet. With a few simple guidelines, any parent can ensure their child's internet use is safe. Keep these tips in mind:
Put a limit on internet time and pay attention to what your child is doing online
Select appropriate sites your child enjoys, and create bookmarks so they can reach them without using a search engine
Use software that controls what sites your child can open
Reinforce with your children that giving out personal information such as their name, address and phone number online can be dangerous
When your children start using the internet, it is important to immediately set up some ground rules to keep them safe. Talking with them and making sure they understand safe media usage is the key. "The number one online safety tip is to talk with your kid about how they use digital media and technologies," says Anne Collier, founder of ConnectSafely.org, an internet safety site.
There is an incredible amount of information on the internet, and not all of it is appropriate for children to see. The anonymous nature of the internet allows predators and cyber-bullies to get away with behavior they normally couldn't. Making certain that you are watching closely what your child does online and talking to them about it as well is the best way to ensure their continued safety.
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