Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

A Parent's Guide to the Internet and it's Dangers to Children, and Parental Controls software information.

Monday, October 03, 2005

How to Raise Digital Kids

Basic ideas every parent needs to know according to the "Internet Mom", Robin Raskin. Raskin is the former editor of both PC Magazine and Family PC and served on the Internet commissions during the Clinton administration. Here are the five most important things every parent should know about the world wide web:
  • Cyberbullying: When kids are online, in e-mails, chat rooms or using instant messaging, they often think they are anonymous and so feel free to say extremely cruel things to each other. This includes real life examples such as kids voting for the ugliest girl in school, calling a classmate a whore, claiming a teacher is gay and threatening to beat someone up.
  • Messages have staying power: Many kids don't realize that what the e-mail or even instant message doesn't just disappear. It leaves a physical record that gets passed on from kid to kid. This concept is true for blogging as well. Kids think that everything is private so they say and send things rashly that, potentially, can be found by somebody else later on.
  • Finding personal information: Most families know the rules about not giving out personal info online, but they don't realize that computer predators can sometimes learn enough from IMs, cell phone messages and blogs to figure out where to find a child. People who are using the Internet are often not who they say they are and infiltrate an IM circle and try to set up meetings. Many parents are finding them facing problems such as these with sites like facebook and myspace.
  • Copyright issues: While there's been a lot of talk about lawsuits in the music industry for downloading songs, parents are often unaware of just what their kids are taking from the Internet. Just because something is on the Internet doesn't mean that it is free. Kids can get in trouble for downloading music, movies or other peer-to-peer files of property that they haven't paid for the right to use.
  • Internet use away from home: Parents may have done the right thing by refusing to allow a kid to have a computer in the bedroom, behind closed doors, but they need to remember that kids don't have to be home to access the Internet. That's why parents need to prepare them for what they might find and prepare them for how to deal with it.

For more information read up on Robin's site, which I will have posted in my links section.


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