Internet Safety Tips for Kids

The Internet is an invaluable tool for communication and information; however, it can also be a dangerous place, especially for children. Here are some important Internet safety tips for kids.
The personal computer and the Internet are perhaps 20th Century’s most epochal creations. Apart from being extraordinary tools for communication, shrinking the world like never before, linking people across the globe, it also offers users access to humongous amounts of information, and therefore is an invaluable tool both in the academic field as well as the business world. However, like any other technology that can be misused, the Internet can also be a sleazy and dangerous place, especially for the most vulnerable group – teens and children.

Hence, it is vitally important for parents to be aware and teach their kids Internet safety tips so that they are able to make use of this wonderful technology safely. Given below are some Internet safety tips for kids:
  • It is important not to allow children to have computers in their bedrooms. Instead, it is best to keep them in an area of the home that is open and visible.
  • Explain to children the importance of not divulging personal information on the Internet like the full name, telephone number, home address, email address, the location and name of their school, parents’ work telephone number/address, social security number, and so on, without prior permission from you.
  • Children should be told that if anything online makes them uncomfortable, scared, or worried, that they need to inform you at once.
  • Explain to them the importance of using gender-neutral, nondescript usernames online, especially when chatting online or using a social networking site.
  • If your kids do choose to post a photograph on a networking site, it is best to blur it before putting it up.
  • Tell them why they must not share passwords with anybody, including their friends.
  • Stress about the importance of never agreeing to get together with anyone they may have "met" online, without checking with you first. And if you do agree to the meeting, that it should be done in a public place, with you or your spouse along.
  • Tell them the importance of never sending anyone their photograph or anything else without your knowledge.
  • Talk to your children about setting up rules about using the Internet. Discuss and decide with them matters like the time of day when they are allowed to be online, how long they can stay online, and which are the appropriate sites that they can visit.
  • Tell your children about the importance of not responding to any message that makes them feel uncomfortable, or is mean. Explain that it is not their fault for getting such a message, and that if they do, they must inform you immediately so that the service provider can be contacted.
  • Tell them that they need to check with you before installing or downloading software, or doing anything that has the chance of jeopardizing the computer or the family’s privacy.
  • Talk to them about never accepting photographs, email, videos, attachments, or files from strangers online.
  • They also have to be told that they need to take your permission before taking part in surveys or questionnaires.
As a parent, one of the most important things you need to do is keep communication channels open with your children. Your kids must feel comfortable talking to you about anything that occurs in their daily lives. Also get technology and Internet savvy. Register into social networking sites like MySpace to get a feel of the sites that your children visit.
By Rita Putatunda
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