Safeguarding your children online
Tactics in protecting your children in an internet world
Using the Internet has become second nature for children and youth today. Online homework, school based web boards, and chatting with friends is now commonplace for this generation. At the same time the internet is a very dark and dangerous place where monsters prowl, eager to devour children and curious teens. For this reason, parents must be vigilant in protecting their kids. Here are some important guidelines:
- Develop an expectation of trust with your child early in life. Tell him that betrayal of trust not only hurts families, but will also limit their freedom.
- Teach your child that the Internet is a good source for educational, recreational and creative searches, but also has some things that can hurt them
- Remind them that your job as a parent is to protect them from harm and danger and you take that responsibility seriously.
- Keep your computers in open, easily visible areas in your home
- Show them how to use the Internet, email, and instant messaging (with approved friends only). Ask them to show you their buddy list regularly.
- They are NEVER to post pictures of themselves on the Internet.
- No MySpace or Facebook Account (I prefer Face Book over My Space) unless they are over 16 and can prove to you that there is a constructive purpose for the account, that is consistent with your family’s faith, moral beliefs and values. The last condition is that you must approve all content, contacts.If your child agrees, then you must monitor the site frequently. Also be aware that there are other sites in addition to MySpace and Facebook.
- Tell them to notify you immediately if they receive an email or instant message from someone they do not know, or has sexual or inappropriate content, or anything that makes them feel uncomfortable–and most importantly, to never respond the message.
- Explain the dangers of giving identifying information such as name, address, school name or telephone number to anyone.
- Let them know that the rules for using the internet apply even when they are at a friend’s home or at a public access computer.
- Find out what safeguards are used at the homes of your child’s friends.
- Check their history files often!
- If you come into the room and they nervously click off a website, or shut off the monitor, investigate immediately.
- Spend time with your child on-line, and have them show you their favorite on-line destinations.
- Use the “Parental Controls” provided by your Internet Service Provider and/or blocking software.
- Maintain access to your child’s on-line account, and randomly check his or her account.
- If you have reason to suspect your child is viewing inappropriate sites–approach your son or daughter calmly and with respect but follow through with the consequence.
- Keep in touch with the parents of their friends and compare notes regularly.
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