Benefits without Dangers on the Internet
Kids old enough to punch a few letters on a keyboard can access the world using the internet – for better and for worse. How do you allow your child to benefit from the Internet's incomparable wealth of information without being exposed to its inherent dangers?
What You Need to Know
While the Internet is a valuable tool for researching, keeping in touch, and gaming, it can be harmful when it comes to pornography, lurking pedophiles and hateful content that are only a missed keystroke away. Parents must take an active role in their children's internet activities to protect them from the gaudy among the good.
- the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
- online tools restricting adult material and protecting children from internet predators
- service providers with options for blocking certain material
- software that blocks access to certain sites based on a list from your service provider
- filtering programs blocking sites and restricting submission of personal information
- programs monitoring and tracking online activity
How You Can Help
However, no law or option guarantees 100% ability to shield your child from Internet risks, so it is essential for you to educate your child about potential risks and maintain active awareness of online activities. Moving forward, it is a good idea to:
- Take advantage of protective resources and learn to block objectionable material and private chat rooms.
- Ask your service provider about disabling “cookies,” devices that track user information.
- Keep the computer in a common area where you monitor its use.
- Bookmark favorite sites for easy access.
- Monitor credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar charges.
- Find out about protection used at any other location where your child might use an unsupervised computer.
- Take your child seriously if he reports uncomfortable online exchanges. Forward inappropriate messages to your service provider.
- Beware of signs of inappropriate behavior: long or late hours online, calls from people you don't know, unsolicited gifts through mail, turning off the computer when you enter.
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