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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tips for Protecting Your Children on the Internet

Do you remember the first time you experienced going online? Using email? For me it was the early 1990's and I was using an email provider, who, for the life of me, I cannot even remember the name of. Things back then were simple, there were not a lot of options. We had two computers, a PC and what I can only imagine was an early model of a "laptop" computer (it was just as big as the PC terminal, only with a screen and keyboard built into it). Quite the contrast to what you might find in a home today. Nowadays, kids have their own computers, and access to things online, I never thought imaginable in the early 1990's.

With social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, and search engines like Google and Yahoo, kids today are growing up in a world with no boundaries. They have access to a wealth of information and experiences. But like most things, those opportunities come with responsibilities. The Internet, for all of its wonderful contributions to society, has also created things such as cyber bullying, identity theft, and expanded the reach of predators. So how do we keep our children safe online?

Here are some tips to help protect your children while on the Internet:
1. First and foremost, talk with your children. In an age appropriate manner, warn them about some of the dangers of the Internet and ways that they can be safe, such as not giving out personal information.
2. Set house rules for computer use, things such as all computer use will be in public areas and setting time limits for the Internet.
3. Teach your children about responsible ways of using social networking sites, and about things like identity theft.
4. Role model for your children. Be careful about the things that you post on your social networking sites, as your children will see it.
5. Use parental control devices. Things such as key loggers to keep track of your children's online activities and web filters to block harmful or inappropriate sites.
6. Be sure to set your privacy setting appropriately to protect yourself and your children.

The Internet is a wonderful resource for education, socializing and entertainment, and hopefully these tips will help you keep your children safe while utilizing it.

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