Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Internet Safety Tips for Parents



I just went to an internet safety class last night although my children and now grown I have grandchildren who need to be safe. So I have done research to share with my readers about internet safety.

As a parent you must absolutely play a very active role in your child's education when introducing them to the Internet, and more importantly and use it safely.

Today one of the most perilous threats to your child's online safety are online sexual predators.

The Federal Bureau of investigations recently estimated that with over one million pedophiles online on any given day at any given time, your child has a one in four chance of being approached in an online chat room or through an instant message.

Worse still, if your child has a my space.com account, where they have posted pictures of themselves, the chances of such a contact go up dramatically.

Long gone are the days when parents could allow the computer to be an unsupervised activity. But as a parent, it's not always easy to know the best way to handle certain situations or what guidelines you should lay down for your child to follow. When they are surfing the Internet.

To protect your children, here are some simple guidelines that are easy to follow by both parent and child alike. We call these the top 10 Internet safety tips that you can and should share with your child.

Top Ten Internet Safety Tips

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 favorite 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. Keep computers out of children's bedrooms and in open areas. With PCs in the open, children will be less inclined to view and access material that may not be acceptable.

9. Create a relationship with your children that is conducive to open communication. Open communication and trust is extremely valuable. By letting children know what is expected from them and that their safety is a top priority, they will feel that if something happens --whether they are approached by a cyber stranger or bully or receive an inappropriate e-mail - they can approach a parent to resolve the issue without feeling they are in trouble.

10. Understand Internet Privacy Policies as they apply to your child. According to the FTC (http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/childrens.html), parents should be aware of the following as it pertains to protecting their childrens' privacy on the web:

What Website Operators Must Do:
Post their privacy policy.
Websites directed to children or that knowingly collect information from kids under 13 must post a notice of their information collection practices that includes:
•types of personal information they collect from kids-for example, name, home address, email address or hobbies.
•how the site will use the information-for example, to market to the child who supplied the information, to notify contest winners or to make the information available through a child's participation in a chat room.
•whether personal information is forwarded to advertisers or other third parties.
•a contact at the site.

Get parental consent.
In many cases, a site must obtain parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information about a child.

Consent is not required when a site is collecting an email address to:

•respond to a one-time request from the child.
•provide notice to the parent.
•ensure the safety of the child on the site.
•send a newsletter or other information on a regular basis as long as the site notifies a parent and gives them a chance to say no to the arrangement.

What Parents Should Do:
Look for a privacy policy on any website directed to children.
The policy must be available through a link on the website's homepage and at each area where personal information is collected from kids. Websites for general audiences that have a children's section must post the notice on the homepages of the section for kids.

Read the policy closely to learn the kinds of personal information being collected, how it will be used, and whether it will be passed on to third parties. If you find a website that doesn't post basic protections for children's personal information, ask for details about their information collection practices.

Decide whether to give consent.
Giving consent authorizes the website to collect personal information from your child. You can give consent and still say no to having your child's information passed along to a third party.

Your consent isn't necessary if the website is collecting your child's email address simply to respond to a one-time request for information.

My information is adapted from: Netnanny.com and PC Tatletale.com

More information: Internet Safety

6 comments:

  1. great tips and thanks for sharing!
    I added you to my blog roll!

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  2. The bottom line is that if parents REALLY want to keep their kids safe online, they need to know what said kids are doing on the computer, and what is happening in their online lives. Blocks and filters are easy to get around, and talking alone will get you nowhere… (if you think your kids are going to tell you, honestly, everything they are doing online – you are a fool). Education is a great thing, and very necessary, but how can you consider yourself educated if you don’t know the simplest information – like what your kids are really doing. If you have monitoring software, like our PC Pandora (www.pcpandora.com), you will know everything they do and will be able to talk to them about it. If you aren’t monitoring and don’t know what they are really doing, how can you be sure they are safe? It’s not an issue of privacy (I have no idea where and when kids were granted endless privacy because they exist – in my day privacy was earned through trust and an established good behavior record), nor is it an issue of trust – it’s called being a 21st century parent. If you don’t know what your kids are doing online, you aren’t doing your job as a parent. If you aren’t monitoring what your kids do online and watch them, someone else will…

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  3. wow lots of good info! thanks!

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  4. Thank you PC for sharing more information with us.

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  5. We can't personally watch our kids everytime they go to the internet, that's why we need a software to watch over them. There is a software at TUKI (The Ultimate Kids' Internet) that is free to download and totally fun and safe for kids.

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