Keeping kids safer on the internet
Photo ©: © Jacek Chabraszewski - Fotolia.com
Allowing kids to go online without supervision or ground rules is like allowing them to explore a major metropolitan area by themselves.
By exploring the internet with your children, you greatly expand its capacity as an educational tool. By providing guidance and discussion along the way, you increase children's online skills and confidence along with their ability to avoid potential risks. And you might be surprised by what kids teach you at the same time.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® urges you to do one of the single most important things to promote safety - begin a dialogue with your childrren about the rewards and potential risks of internet use. It's up to parents and guardians to assess the potential risks and benefits of permitting their kids to use the wide range of internet websites and applications available.
Browsing the Internet is like having the world's largest library and entertainment system at your fingertips. Children are able to read stories, tour museums, visit other countries, play games, look at photographs, shop, and do research to help with homework.
- Children may come across websites containing adult images or demeaning, racist, sexist, violent, or false information.
- It is hard for children to distinguish reliable sources of information from less reliable ones. Some believe because information is posted online it must be true.
Tips to Minimize Potential Risks
- Choose search engines carefully. Some are specifically designed for kids, and others offer kid-safe options.
- Tell children when they come across any material making them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused to immediately tell you or another trusted adult.
- Help kids find information online. By searching the internet together you help them find reliable sources of information and distinguish fact from fiction.
Many Internet service providers (ISPs) offer filters to prevent kids from accessing inappropriate websites. Contact your ISP about what safe-search options they offer. Remember, as a consumer you have a right to choose an ISP with the services meeting your family's needs.
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