Has your child begun using the computer and showing an interest in using the internet? Kids are becoming aware of the internet at an early age thanks to children's television stations and shows promoting their websites. This is fine if the sites are educational, but how do you know — for sure — what your child is viewing online? Here are some tips to keep your kids safe while they enjoy using the computer on going online.
The most important tip of all, however, is to sit down with your child and talk with him about internet safety. Stress to him that he is not permitted to go into chatrooms, give any personal information, or speak with strangers online. Let him know that there are dishonest people out there and that you can never know for certain who you are talking with and what their intentions are.
- First and foremost, invest in software that filters and blocks inappropriate websites from appearing on your computer. Some of the best are Cybersitter, Net Nanny, and 4NetSafety. There are free filters available, but they do not always work and have been shown to allow some inappropriate sites to make it through.
- Make sure that you set your child's user names and passwords yourself. This way, you may log on at anytime to ensure that what they are viewing is safe.
- Keep your computer in a central location. This technique has proven very effective in helping a parent ensure their child is not viewing inappropriate sites. If they are able to access the internet in a bedroom or office, they may be more enticed to explore unknown territory online.
- Limit her time online. Set clear rules for how long your child is allowed on the internet. If she does not follow your rules, she will lose her online privileges.
Accessing the internet for educational purposes and playing games can be a lot of fun for a child, so make sure that they know the rules and you will both feel better about the experience.