Violence, sex, nudity, and explicit language, pornography, online gambling, online predators, viruses, spyware, and adware; these are some of the threats that your kids can encounter while using the internet. And since you can’t monitor them all the time, you need to find ways to protect your kids from these threats. Here are some of those ways:
1. Teach them to stay secure. Talk to them about personal security while using the internet. Tell them to refuse giving any personal information to people they meet online. Avoid filling out membership and survey forms that would entail them to state their personal information.
2. Place your computer in a place where you can monitor your kids’ use of the internet and not in their bedroom.
3. Set up house rules to limit your kids’ internet access.
4. Keep your kids’ computer account “limited. This will keep you in control over the significant access to the computer.
5. Discourage them from making personal profiles using online networking websites that can be viewed by anyone. Sites like MySpace create venues for online predators to access different personal information for their predatory purposes. If your kids already have profiles posted on the web, make sure that you know what pictures and personal information they post. Also, view their personal blogs.
6. If your kids are young enough to use the regular web browser, download web-browsers that are made for kids. They filter bad websites and limit your kids’ access to pre-approved webpages.
7. Tell them to avoid peer-to-peer file-sharing softwares. This is because viruses, spyware, and adware can freely enter your computer through these softwares.
8. Use internet filtering software to block bad websites from your computer.
9. Use internet monitoring software to secretly track the activity of your kids from websites visited, chat rooms entered, downloads, conversation, and IMs.
10. Attend to your kids immediately if they report any uncomfortable online exchanges they have encountered.
11. Share a common email address so that you can monitor their messages.
12. If they use instant messaging, make sure that you know who are on their list.
13. If they enter chat rooms, tell them to stay in the public room so that the chat room administrator can monitor your conversation. Tell them to ignore private messages.
14. Tell them not to meet personally with strangers they only met online.
15. And, teach them to approach you whenever they have any doubts on the emails and messages they receive, window popups that appears, and forms they were asked to fill-out.
Many of these ideas are simple by themselves, but the main point behind all of these ideas is communication. Almost every idea is a talk about, teach, and prepare children to use the internet properly and as parents we have the ability to help our children be save. Talk about it with your children. I have never heard a parent say “boy that talk about internet(or anything else) safety was a waist of time.” You will be better for it!