Safety tips for and protecting kids online

Kids are using logging on to the Internet more than ever before, playing games, chatting with friends, and getting help with schoolwork. The Internet has opened up a whole new world for them. However, the online world, like the real world, is made up of a wide array of people. Most are decent and respectful, but some may be rude, obnoxious, insulting, or even mean and exploitative. Areas full of sex, violence, drugs, and other adult themes are another possible danger for them.

The fact that crimes can be committed online, however, is not a reason to avoid using these services. Children need parental supervision and commonsense advice on how to make their experiences with the Internet happy, healthy, and productive.

We’ll give you some important tips and the essential tools, and we’ll show you how to put them together to make the Internet a safe place for your child.

Internet Filters

Internet Filters are a good way to keep a tab and restrict activities of your kid online.

Spend time on the Internet with your children

It is highly recommended that you spend time with your children online. Send E-Greetings cards to family and friends or participate in interactive games together. Ask your children to tell about their cyberspace friends, just as you would want to know their real-life friends.

Schedule Internet use for your children.

Limit young grade-schoolers to 30-60 minutes a few times a week; older kids may need more frequent access for school projects. This will make them more responsible in using the Internet.

It is recommended to keep the computer in a visible place in the house

Check frequently what your child is seeing on the screen and if your child quickly closes the screen, this is a red flag which should be investigated.

Set Traffic Limits

Limit your children to 1-3 megabytes they can download/upload per day to prevent them from downloading pornographic films or non-licensed software.

Limit your children to only certain websites, newsgroups and chat rooms

Sit down with your child and agree on types of websites your child may and may not visit. Limit the use of Instant Messaging and chat rooms.

 

Never give out personal information.

Instruct your kids never to give out personal information (name, address, age, telephone number, password, credit card number, and so on) in chat rooms, email, or bulletin boards.

Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online.

Instruct children to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user without parental permission. Never allow them to get together with someone they "met" online without first checking this “friend” out to the best of your ability. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public place, and be sure to accompany your child.

Randomly check visited web sites log.

Viewing the log of visited web sites can give you enough information about your kid’s habits, interests and online friends. Normally you should do this only occasionally but if your child becomes secretive, then you should check more often. If you find that the history of sites visited is deleted in your Web Browser, this is a signal that something is going on and should be investigated.

Teach children netiquette.

Good manners can protect kids, too. Words written are just as strong as words spoken. Tell children never to respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, or harassing. Ask them to be sensitive to others’ feelings when posting online messages and to avoid being rude, mean, sarcastic, or excessively argumentative. A comment that’s meant to be funny could seem insulting and make others mad. Visit message boards and chat rooms with your kids to point out comments that could be misinterpreted.