Protect your Kids on the Internet October 17 2011
Today’s kids are exposed to a high-level of questionable content on TV, on magazine covers in the grocery store check out,
and, perhaps more obviously, on the Internet. It is important for parents to keep an eye on who your little one is talking to and what pages they’re stumbling across. And just because your computer search history shows something harmless like “miniature load cell,” don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper to find out what they’re really looking at.
Several companies offer products that can track what your kids are doing online, even if they are clearing browsing histories. How much you choose to limit where they’re allowed to surf, what they’re allowed to see, who they’re allowed to talk to, or whether or not they know about the software, is up to the individual parent.
Talk To Your Kids About Internet Safety
Before you hire a private eye to keep tabs on your son or daughter, you could just try talking to them about the dangers of the World Wide Web. Keeping an open line of dialogue with your child will come in handy in the future years where topics of concern get more dangerous than the possibility of them Googling something beyond load cell calibration.
You can broach the topic by saying that you saw something on the news or that one of your coworker’s children found themselves in a dangerous situation when online. You can gauge your own plan of action based on your child’s response. Did they say that that other child was silly to go on certain sites or talk to strangers? Did they try to defend the child’s privacy? There’s no use kicking your Internet safety settings into high gear if all your child really is doing is checking out their favorite TV shows, playing games and connecting with their school friends. Get to know your child’s habits before overreacting.
The Problem of Online Bullying
Another area that needs to be addressed with kids and the Internet is the rise in online bullying. It is a shame that children use the Internet as another outlet to tease, poke fun at and alienate their peers. Social networking sites like Facebook have turned the usual high school rumor mill into a full-fledged attack on teens.
Make sure your child knows the importance of recognizing and reporting bullying. Ask them about the kids that everyone picks on and encourage them to think about how they would feel if they were in that situation before jumping on the bandwagon. And remind your child to tell a parent, teacher, or school counselor if they are ever involved in a bullying situation before it gets out of control.