It seems that these days, kids are going online at a much younger age than in previous years. While the World Wide Web isn’t all bad, parents still have the right to be nervous every time their child goes online. Most of the time, kids are just going online to check out their favorite YouTube video or play their favorite game, but parents still need to be aware of what their child is doing online so they can ensure they remain safe.
Keep the computer in a centralized location and limit online time– Place the family computer in a central location in the home, such as the kitchen area. By allowing your child to have the computer in the bedroom, you won’t have the ability to watch them and see what they are doing. While you want your child to spend time online, it is also important that you set time limits. The time limits you set are completely up to you, but generally 30 minutes a day is reasonable.
Set up and post a list of computer rules– As the parent, you have every right to create a set of rules for when your child is online. Make a list of rules and post them by the computer, so your child can see them each time they are online. If you don’t know where to start with the list, here are some ideas to get you started:
• I will never give out my personal information online, including full name, age, date of birth, home address, phone number, school name and account passwords.
• I will never agree to meet any online friend, in person, without talking to my parents first.
• I will never talk to anyone online that I don’t know, without parental permission first.
• I will always tell a parent if I see something online that makes me feel uncomfortable.
• I will never post pictures online without asking a parent first.
Make use of parental control software– There are a number of parental control software programs on the market today. These programs are designed to allow parents to do things like block certain websites, as well as monitor what your child is doing online, including what websites they visit. Some of the most popular programs include Net Nanny by Content Watch, Safe Kids by Kaspersky Lab and Family Premier by Norton.
Show them safe and fun places online– By showing your child some cool, fun and safe places to visit online, you are helping to ensure they stay safe and protected while online. Here are some reputable sites to get you started:
Social Networking- For kids under 13