Archive for March, 2013

Internet Safety For Children

March 4, 2013

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No matter how young they are your little one will want to have access to the internet.  Surfing the internet, playing games and socially connecting is no longer the way of the future, the future is here and now. 

When I was young playing outside with my friends while my mother peaked through the window every now to make sure all was well.  Back then that was the norm. A peek, a look, that was the extent of adult supervision.  Today, in order to keep our children safe we must be outside with them, never letting them out of our sight. The same safety regulations apply to keeping your child safe in your own home on the internet.  The internet brings all the fun of the outdoors indoors as well as all of the dangers.

So how do we keep our children safe?  Is it even possible?  100% safe is pretty much impossible but doing the best we can is the issue at hand.  Here are our top ten tips for keeping your child safe on the internet.

1) Keep your computer safe from hackers.  Install the best anti virus software available and make sure all firewalls are up to date.

2) Get to know your child’s friends.  Today it is so easy to connect.  Connect with the parents of your child, they may have some information on what the children do together when they are surfing the net when not at your house. 

3) Talk to your kids about internet safety.  Kids ( and even adults) always think “it won’t happen to me” but it happens!  Make sure they understand never, ever, to give out personal information such as address, phone number, name of their school or even names of their friends.  Try to reinforce the knowledge that anyone can hide behind a fake name and identity. Let them watch television shows that investigate internet fraud on young people.  The more information shown to them the better chance you have that something will stick and that some of the information will help to keep them safe.

4) One of the best ways to monitor your childs internet use is to keep the computer in a public area of your home.  When my kids were younger we had the computer in the kitchen.  Today with all the laptops, smart phones and ipads this may be a bit more difficult.

5) Learn, learn, learn!  Our kids have much more knowledge of how things work on the great and vast internet highway.  Read and understand privacy policies of popular sights that your kids go on in order to keep them safe. 

6) Learn about parental control tools.  These will offer you the ability to control the sights your child visits. Parental control falls in to approximately four categories: content filters which limit access to age appropriate content, usage controls which controls time limits and forbids certain types of usage, computer usage management tools which allow parents to enforce learning time into child computing time, monitoring which can track location and activity when using the devices.

7) Facebook safety is an important issue and every parent should make it a priority.  As a parent you should always know your child’s log in information.  Making the child’s profile private should always be a must.  If a profile is private it cannot be viewed by a stranger.

8) Posting photos on facebook, or for that matter anywhere on the internet should be taken seriously.  A photo can easily give away a location.  If your child wants to post a photo make sure it is only a head shot so that no other information can be detected.

9) Talk to your kids about their online friends and make sure they are away never to accept a friend that they do not know personally. 

10) Instill in your child never to open an email that comes from a suspicious source or never to click on a link in an email.  Not only can they download hazardous viruses but the emails may contain pornographic pictures.

Lastly, keep the lines of communication open.  Talk and above all listen to your child.  In today’s busy times it is very easy to forget to be involved in your child’s life, get to know their friends and supervise their activities.  Make sure they are aware that you care and love them unconditionally.

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