Being a parent is never an easy task. There is so many things that parents need to watch out for when raising a child. “Don’t cross the street without looking both ways!” or “Don’t touch that hot pan!” or “Don’t talk to strangers!” What most parents don’t think to say is this, “Don’t go online without my consent!”
The internet can pose some very real dangers that parents may not be aware of. Online predators, cyber-bullying, harassment, unwanted images, just to name a few. By following a few simple steps, parents can be comforted that their children will be safe.
Step 1 – have a heart to heart with your child, tell them of the dangers online. Do you allow your children to go outside without first telling them not to cross the street or to play safe? Of course not, same with the internet. Be honest in the telling, don’t try to hide it, if you think your child can’t handle it, don’t let them online. While telling your child about the dangers of the internet is important, it is more important to talk about the solution. Telling kids about a threat without a solution only makes them feel helpless. Come up with a plan of what to do if they ever think they are in danger. Being honest is the best policy in keeping your child safe.
Step 2 – Establish rules. Set time limits to internet usage, make them work for it and have their chores done before they are able to go online. Restrict certain sites and chat rooms that you don’t think they should be on. If your kids have Facebook, help them with the privacy settings to block people from looking at their page.
Step 3 – Keep the computer in a public place. Never allow your children, teenagers, rebel rousers, tornadoes, or whatever you call them keep a computer in their bedroom. Even if Phineas and Ferb use the computer in their room, doesn’t mean your children should. By keeping computers in a public place, such as the living room, kids are less likely to look up things they shouldn’t. Also parents are more likely to see what their kids are doing while passing by.
Step 4 – Get parental control software. Some software allows you to look at what your children are looking at by logging in to your browser. Others allow you to choose which websites you wish to prevent you kids from seeing. Try different types to see which one fits your family best. Most software have trials to see if they fit your lifestyle, others are completely free to use. Whatever you choose, any software is better than no software.
The internet poses some threats to our youth. Educating them on the internet safety is your best tool in defeating those dangers. Keep in mind that while parental control software is can be invaluable, it is no substitute for proper parenting.
Monitor your children for unusual behavior, ask what it is they do online, and even go online with them. With these preventing steps, online dangers decrease, but it cannot completely prevent them. Be smart when dealing with your children and be prepared to deal with a crisis if it were to present itself. And learn to say, “Don’t add a friend you don’t know!”
About the Author:
Breanna Trost is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them search for online degrees that can help them reach their goals.
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