You love the Internet and you want your child or children to be able to share your enthusiasm for it. But you want them to be safe at the same time. The Internet is one of the greatest technical accomplishments of our age and its advantages should not be overlooked or taken for granted.
The knowledge it has brought to our world can be seen in schools and in homes; there is practically no limit to what it has to offer us. But where there is great good, there can also be the potential for harm. It seems that as soon as we reap the benefits of one part of the web, we are confronted with the negative aspects of that benefit. The Internet is definitely a changing entity that requires constant vigilance on our part.
Parents of today have a supreme challenge on their hands as they guide their children, the next generation, through this digital world. Even the farthest reaches of our planet have felt the effects of this amazing learning tool; as you read the pages of this book you too will learn how to safely access and harness this world and make it work to your child’s advantage.
1. Read the COPPA
The COPPA is the Federal Trade Commission’s Revised Children Online Privacy Protection Act, which took effect on July 1, 2013. One of the things the act does is give parents more control over the over the collection of their children’s online information. It addresses the ways children access the Internet, including mobile devises and social networking. COPPA requires website operators and online services that are directed to kids under 13 years of age to give notice to parents and give their verifiable consent. They must do this before they collect, use or disclose any of this information; the information must also be kept secure.
2. Get Involved
As a parent, you must get involved with your child’s activities online. Your involvement is key to keeping them safe. Never leave your child alone to surf the net unsupervised; always be somewhere nearby. As a rule of thumb, you child should never have their computer in their own room where they can shut the door and be away from your oversight.; your home computer should be in a public room such as your den or living room. Your child should always know that their online activity is subject to your scrutiny. Scrutinize everything your child does online the same as you would investigate their friends and other activities.
3. Establish House Rules
You need to decide how much time your children will be allowed to spend on the Internet. Once you decide, let them know and be consistent about your enforcement of this. Some families post these rules next to the computer and some even draw up a contract for their children to sign. If your children are old enough to be on the computer unsupervised, they should be old enough to sign a contract and to understand that you will hold them to it. Spend time talking with your children about the rules, and also about what will happen if they break them. Remember, consistency is important. Keep in mind that while child predators and online porn still exist, there’s a much higher probability that your child will be harmed by someone they know than by someone online; so while kids need to be protected from online harm, don’t overdo it and scare them.
4. Protect Their Privacy
Protecting privacy has always been important, but with the advent of the Internet and all the mobile devices now available, privacy protection has become a huge industry in itself. What your children post online at different websites and social media sites can easily get them in trouble, put them at risk and come back to haunt them years later. As a parent, you can teach your kids what and what not to post online so that their privacy and the privacy of your family is not at risk. Instruct your children never to give their name, phone number, address, email address, passwords or picture to anyone they don’t know. They should also know not to open any email form someone they don’t know, not to respond to any hurtful messages and never to make face to face contact with someone they ‘meet’ online.
5. Have Information About All Computers in Your Home
Know that location is key. No matter how many computers you have in your home, consider only having one or two of them connected to the Internet. This way, you will be able to monitor your children’s online activity much easier. Keeping any computers that are hooked up to the Internet in the open areas of your home will also give you easy access to what your children are seeing on the Internet. Some families have only one Internet connected computer, and it’s in their den, where the family often gathers, and a family member is never far away. 65. Teach Your Children Well
Teach your children that if they ever see anything that makes them uncomfortable online they should let you know immediately. This includes pictures, text and emails. Here is where close monitoring of what your children do on the Internet comes in. A child may not know what they’re viewing is inappropriate; you must be there to educate them. Children may feel that if they accidentally see something bad, they are to blame. Assure them it isn’t their fault and you won’t punish them. Use the opportunity as a teaching experience and a way to enhance their online experience.
7. Use What Your ISP Provides
You could go out and buy an Internet safety software to help protect your children, but you should first check into what your Internet Service Provider offers first. Lots of ISPs, such as America Online, MSN, SBC Yahoo and EarthLink, to name a few, have reliable and free parental controls. These controls can limit or restrict children’s access to things like websites, email, instant messaging and chat. The controls are filtered by age, content categories, time and other choices.
8. Find Out About Your Browser Options
If you find out your browser has no parental control option, you still have ways to control the Internet. Look to your browser for safe-surfing choices. If you use Internet Explorer, check out their Content Advisor by going to Tools/ Internet Options/ Content; here you can filter out language, nudity, sex and violence on a 0 to 4 scale. Using your browser isn’t as all-inclusive as an ISP safety product, but it can help out when your child is surfing the web.
9. Give Your Search Engine a Tune-up
Several search engines have child-safety features; do some research and find out which ones suit you best. Google will block any site with explicit sexual material and AltaVista will make several sites with offensive material off limits. But beware of one thing; if your child is Internet savvy, he or she may be able to switch the settings back. Tuning up your search engine is a free option available to you, so check it out and get what help you can.
10. Look Into Child Safe Zones
You can go a long way in keeping your child safe by confining your child’s online experiences to web addresses that list child safe sites on things like TV, movies, music and games.
To read all 50 Tips please view the book on Amazon that is available for free with Amazon Prime. In the book you will find all 50 Things to Know and other resources.