Safer Internet use is all about parental involvement: setting
guidelines and being involved and guiding your child in the online
world the same way you do in their everyday lives.
You need to be
involved in their Internet use. At the same time, you need to respect
their privacy. Their email, texts and instant messages are private.
- Educate yourself about the Internet.
It's important to be knowledgeable about the Internet, because even if
you don't have a computer at home, your child can access it at school,
at a friend's house, or at your public library.
- Create a
family agreement for Internet use, including hours of use, which sites
can be accessed and which ones shouldn't be.
- Place your
computer in a central, open location, like the living room, so Internet
use can be supervised. A computer (iPad, tablet, phone or whatever) in
the bedroom at night is a bad idea. They may spend hours online
instead of sleeping.
- Look at the sites your child/teen visits.
Have them show you their favorites and discuss why they chose those
- Set up your computer to block offensive sites, words, and
topics and consider installing a children's search engine.
- With your child, create a special folder of bookmarks or favorites for
your child on your family's computer.
the Internet is wonderful at keeping us connected in ways never
dreamed of and offering information at the click of a mouse,
maintaining family privacy takes some thought and planning.
- Teach your children never to give out identifying information about any
family member. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, where
they work, dates of birth, email addresses, passwords or credit card
- Encourage your child to tell you if anyone is asking
for personal information.
- Teach your child that talking to a
stranger on the Internet is no different than talking to a stranger on
- When they hear about a story or situation that
sounds unreal, have them check it out on Urban Myths. They will soon
become proficient at discovering hoaxes and love to tell you about it.
- Talk to your children about potential
online dangers such as giving out personal information to strangers.
Chat room acquaintances are strangers, and your child should never
arrange to meet them in the real world unless you give permission.
- Better yet, if your children are young, steer them away from chat
rooms. Older childen should only participate in chat rooms of which you
- If your child starts receiving phone calls from
strangers or places calls to people you don't know, get to the bottom
of it immediately.
- Tell your children that if someone
harasses them online, says something inappropriate, or makes them feel
uncomfortable in any way they should tell you, their teacher or another
- Contact the police immediately if your child
receives child pornography, has been sexually solicited or has received
sexually explicit images from an adult.
- While it's important to
be careful, remember the Internet is also fun, exciting and
Kathy Lynn is a parenting expert who is a
professional speaker, broadcaster, columnist and author of Who's In
Charge Anyway? and But Nobody Told Me I'd Ever Have to Leave Home. For
information or to book Kathy for a speaking engagement, go to her
website at www.ParentingToday.ca.
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