Pornography and other explicit media, drug sites, unmonitored chat, and social networking sites are the potential dangers to children online. Parents must monitor their children’s online activities.
Here are few recommended steps you can take to get better visibility of and involvement in your children’s Internet usage:
Placement of the computer
It is a low-tech way to have better visibility into your child’s online activities. Computer should be in a more visible place in the house. If mobile devices or tablets are being used, set expectations that surfing happens in a visible location, such as the living room.
Better visibility can help prevent accidental or intentional access to unacceptable websites.
Decide together what is acceptable and not acceptable, including website content, chat rooms, social networking sites, webcam usage, file-sharing, and other activities.
The Internet is constantly evolving, with new and different ways to interact with people and content. Make your expectations clear to your child from the beginning.
Treat online strangers as real life strangers
Teach children to have a healthy level of suspicion when interacting with people online. The name and photos shared by online acquaintances may not be authentic, and their intentions may not always be good. Ensure your children are aware of the following safety measures:
o Do not use your real name as a user name on websites.
o Avoid sharing your true identity with anyone.
o Never share passwords because this opens your account information (name, address, contact information) to anyone.
o Be careful when posting photos. They can attract the wrong kinds of attention or help someone determine where you live.
o Never meet face-to-face with strangers. The risks outweigh the benefits, especially for children.
o Do not open attachments or links shared by people you do not know.
Use Parental Control / Family Protection Software
Just as AntiVirus software protects your computer against malware, Family Protection software helps control where and when your child goes online, and it tracks the kinds of information they post. Most Family Protection applications allow you to set time limits and content ratings. More advanced applications provide you regular reports on where your child has gone online, the content ratings for videos, TV shows and movies, and whether they have shared any personal information, such as an address or school name.
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