Since the Internet debuted in the early 1990s, usage of the “Net” has increased exponentially. In addition to the significant increase, the age range of users has expanded. Children as young as 3 years old are exposed to the Internet for various reasons. The constant concern regarding children using the Internet is SAFETY. Many parents are at a loss with respect to what should be done to help their children safely enjoy this revolutionary invention. Below are four suggestions for parents regarding online safety. Not fool proof but certainly worth implementing. You can always modify and/or adjust these suggestions to make them unique to your particular situation.
1. Parents can minimize any potential risks of virtual communication that is undesirable by taking
responsibility for their child’s online computer and mobile device use.
• Get to know the services your child uses
• Familiarize yourself with parental control software
• “Surf” with your children so you can know their interests/concerns, show them what is/is not appropriate
to do and why
• Use it as a time of sharing not enforcement or patrolling (these can lead to lost trust)
• Never allow children to arrange a face to face meeting with another computer user
• Monitor for inappropriate online material that may appear in e-mails, text messages and on websites
• Use the “back” button if they come upon a site that isn’t what they expected
• Report complaints about receiving inappropriate, unsolicited e-mail messages
2. Remind your child/children that people online may not be who they seem and everything read online is not
• It is easy for one to pretend when unseen and unheard
• Anything too good to be true probably is
3. Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use.
• Discuss the rules and post them near the computer
• Monitor their compliance with the rules
• Do not use computers/electronics as “babysitters”
• Limit computer use to a PUBLIC AREA of the house rather than in the bedroom
• Collect cell phones, smart phones, iPod Touch, etc. (if applicable at night)
4. Create a contract with specific guidelines for computer use that you and your child/children have agree upon
Here are a few websites you may want to visit that are devoted to online safety: