|Your kids and the Internet|
For kids, Internet can be a boon as well as a bane. Frank Johnson evaluates the various dangers that the Internet possesses for a young child and highlights how Internet safety should be given prime importance in today’s tech savvy age.
The Internet can indeed be wonderfully rich resources for your kids. Kids can seek help from the Internet to gain knowledge about a wide variety of topics, prepare academic reports and presentations, interact with their classmates and teachers and play exciting online games. However, this extremely rich platform can also turn out to be a dangerous place in case proper safety precautions and checks are not maintained.
Apart from the kids themselves, parents should also get involved proactively in order to ensure that their children are not just browsing relevant and reliable websites but also surfing them in the most appropriate manner. It is a known fact that the World Wide Web is replete with online scams, pornography, Internet viruses, spyware and a host of nefarious predators. Kids should be kept safe from such elements at all points of time. Even a small typographical error can lead a child to an obscene or potentially harmful website! This is where the importance of Internet security comes into the picture. In this context, one must not overlook the participation of both kids and parents in ensuring that the Internet is used in the most appropriate manner – to educate and entertain!
Internet Safety and Parents
When it comes to monitoring the Parents can help to reinforce Internet safety for their young ones through the following steps:
It is very important that parents keep a tab on what their children see and listen to on the Internet, who they meet and what they do online, especially on social networking websites and online chat platforms. Should they want, they can also talk to them about their concerns about Internet safety and employ a host of resources to keep them safe from nefarious elements and improper online content. Although there is a law to protect children and their viewing of/ access to adult content, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that prohibits children to use certain websites without parental guidance and approval, parents should also keep a close vigil on the children’s activities on the Internet. While the law aims to acquire parental consent before the children share their personal information such as name, address and personal contact details generally or on sites that require such information in order to give access to children, it is the parents’ responsibility to keep their children away from such websites. Parents can talk to their kids about the potential dangers of using such websites and can monitor their personal computers regularly to ensure that their children are surfing the Internet in a safe and well protected manner.
A few things that parents must take extra caution about include protecting their children from strangers online, cyber-bullying as well as repetitive stress injuries related to the continued use of computers. Alternately, parents can foster engagement in more natural and healthier hobbies that keep young and active minds away from the potential dangers on the Internet.
Although it is quite difficult to ensure that your kids are absolutely safe from the dangers of the cyber space, you certainly can control their access to websites that contain adult material and protect them from online predators. There are various online tools available in the markets today that can help you block certain websites to restrict your kids’ access to them. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also provide the option of parent-control that can help you block certain illicit material coming to your child’s computer. A variety of software that restricts access to certain ‘bad sites’ and filtering programs that prohibit personal information from being shared online are also available to further help you monitor your child’s cyber space safety. Should you want, you can also employ software and programs to track your child’s online activity.
Is Your Child Accessing Improper Online Content?
The Seriousness of the Matter
Some Basic Steps to Protect Your Child’s Internet Safety
Proactive participation in your child’s online activities can ensure that your child is safe from potential Internet dangers and can use the Cyber Space in a secure and efficient manner.
This article by Frank Johnson is the fist in his series on ‘Kids and the Internet’. Frank is a regular editorial contributor on technology products and services. To know more about Internet safety for kids, you may interact with him here