Protecting your child on the internet

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The internet is a place of wondrous and terrifying things; and the duties as a parent in protecting your child grow with the growth of technology. We can access the Internet of our phones, laptops, iPods, computers and even the Wii. Here are some tips i have put together to give you a hand; if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

1. First educate yourself, then your child.

Banning a child from certain sites may only motivate them to spend more time on them, whereas educating your child on how to keep safe will give them the tools they need to navigate their online world without being hurt; from not posting personal information to a site to understanding that people they are talking to may not actually be who they are. If the parents know the dangers themselves, this sets an example to the child to understand them as well.

2. Teach children the obvious identity rules.

Tell your children NOT to put photos of themselves on the Internet or to give out their names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, or other personal information online.

3. Install an Internet filter or family safety software.

Family safety software is becoming extremely advanced and an effective way to filter dangerous content. Additionally, this software usually comes with tools like time management, remote monitoring and reporting, and keystroke recognition, giving families greater peace of mind and manageability.

4. Know the dangers associated with sites your children frequent.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Whether it’s MySpace, Facebook or another social networking site, by knowing what people are doing on your children’s favourite sites that could put them in harm’s way, parents can educate their children and show them the warning signs of potentially dangerous situations.

5. Teach children what to do if they encounter pornography on a home or public computer, such as at a school or a library.

In a similar fashion to the fire warning of “stop, drop and roll,” you can teach children to quickly turn off power to the computer monitor and go to get an adult. This can prevent a child from attempting to stop the situation by clicking more buttons (and thereby spreading the attack and being exposed to more porn).

6. Manage your children’s time on the Internet.

Scheduling times when a child can be on the Internet and the amount they can be online ensures that you know when they are on the Internet and how long. By not allowing them to have free reign reduces their chances of being exposed to inappropriate content.

7. Set specific Internet guidelines for your children to live by and consistently enforce consequences, if they are not being followed.

Giving your children specific guidelines to follow will ensure they know where they stand when it comes to how they use the Internet as well as the consequences when they breach the rules. If a parent enforces consequences consistently, their children will be more likely to follow the rules.

8. Know what is required of a kids site.

99% of good kid-friendly sites require the parents consent to use or to create an account. Sites that require this information also have policies as well for the parents to agree to; read them carefully to ensure the site is a closed environment and routinely monitored to ensure safety and eliminate any dangers to your children.

Happy surfing!

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