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Your Children's Internet Safety -
A Few Good Rules

It can be a jungle out there, on the internet. And your children's internet safety can be protected by following a few rules.

Most parents wouldn’t allow their kids to explore New York City, Chicago, or any city on their own until they learned the necessary skills to navigate the challenges of city life. However, parents are unknowingly sending their kids to many new places when they allow them to log on to the internet.

What's wrong with this? Nothing, if parents understand the risks of the "internet world" as well as the tools needed by their children to navigate it safely.

The answer is for parents to become as familiar as possible with internet culture to help them monitor and guide their children on using it safely. Many parents feel put off by this suggestion. We have to enter their world? It's a daunting task for many parents to be a student again in something their children have mastered. However, the alternative is to take the risk of having their children cyber-bullied, manipulated by a predator, or exposed to material they are not yet ready to handle.

How do you learn about increasing children's internet safety? There are a variety of ways. Police, schools, and townships often offer free seminars to address this topic. If they do not have anything planned, they may agree to have one or know where to send you for help. There are many books written on this topic,

Although parents are worried about their children's internet safety, the difficulty lies in that they have less exposure to this world. Parents have not grown up in a cyber-space world of Twitter, IMs, Facebook, or You Tube. Since parents are not as familiar with the internet "culture" as much as their children are, they can’t be sure that their children are safe. Often, parents rely on their children to educate them on the internet. Children and young adults, although comfortable surfing sites and explaining the process of internet exchanges to parents, are not always aware of how people can use their information, age, and lack of experience to hurt them in numerous ways.

Banning kids from the internet can create lying and increased interest. The benefit of becoming involved in the learning process with your children, or without, is the message they receive that you care about their safety. A lot of teens have commented to me that they enjoyed showing their parents "their" world and teaching them the ropes. Given the minimal communication between teens and parents, this interaction is a welcome gift.

(Return from Internet Safety to Jennifer McCarron's page)

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