Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

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

Friday, March 03, 2006

Online Safety, What Parents Need to Know

Keeping kids safe online means teaching them to be smart, responsible users of the Internet. Here's some information for children of all ages from WiredSafety.com:

Teach Your Children To:
  • Think before they click: With whom are they chatting or e-mailing, what are they saying and how are they saying it? Will the person on the other end know they are joking?
  • Walk away from the computer and "Take 5" before responding to something that upsets them online.

  • Avoid spreading rumors, assisting in cyberbullying or sharing private communications online.
  • Follow the golden rule of cyberspace: Don't do anything online that you wouldn't do in real life.

  • For age specific online safety tips read the Online Safety Kit.

    Internet Needs Social Order!

    Browsing through MSNBC this morning I found no less than three articles on incidents related to the social networking site, Myspace.com. On the radio this morning, two local radio shows were discussing the repercussions the site is having just in my area alone. This is absolutely ridiculous!

    Every other place teenagers go there are rules regulating their behavior. Schools, malls, rec centers, even just walking around the streets there is a mandate to keep their behavior in check or risk being removed from the area or, in extreme cases, punished by law. When then, are there no such rules for these online social networks? This is still a place for kids to congregate and exchange thoughts and ideas. Written threats and pictures of drugs, weapons and debauchery cover the pages of many Myspace profiles.

    Whose responsibility is it to regulate this? Do we throw this on the schools? Do we expect the government to step in? Do we need Myspace creators to be held responsible? Or do we simply hope that parents are keeping up with what their kids are doing online? Throughout the media there is a quite a bit of finger pointing surrounding this, but I think all parties share some responsibility. Just as we expect mall security to keep the peace in our local shopping centers, so we should expect Myspace to be regulating their online version of a teen hangout. Anything that in anyway involves the schools should be punishable by school officials. This includes threats made against particular students. The government has set such minimal law online at all its no wonder people think they can get away with anything and everything on the Internet. Lastly, parents are the first line of defense when it comes to the safety of their children. You wouldn't let your kids go out at night without knowing where they are going and who they are going with or meeting up with. Why then, do parents allow kids free rein on the Internet which, in essence, is a virtual world?

    How many articles have to be posted and how much media needs to get involved for the adult population to realize the seriousness of the dangers online? Why don't we stand up to this? Why don't we form parent groups and teacher associations to spread the word about the seedy side of the Net? This is a message that needs to be told. Who else is willing to speak out in order to keep our kids safe?