Helping Kids Navigate the Internet
By Stanley Holditch
Between the potential for online bullying, bank account hacking, and cyber stalking, you might be tempted to take your child’s computer or phone to the trash bin. During summer break, children’s use of social networking sites and mobile apps will experience a big jump. So, are you wondering how to keep kids safe online?
An important first step is to learn more about the technology. While your knowledge might never reach that of your 14-year-old whiz kid, it’s important to know the basics so you can properly monitor and safeguard internet usage. Remember that technology is not the enemy, if used properly there are a lot of tools out there that allow safer web surfing.
We offer five smart tips to help your child enjoy social interaction without the danger:
- Choose the right environment for your child. Try to find social networks that correspond to your child’s peer maturity level.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. If you feel your child is not ready for an adult social network like Facebook or MySpace, which are not heavily moderated or monitored, tell them that they aren’t ready and suggest a more suitable alternative, like YourSphere or Togetherville.
- Whatever social network you feel is appropriate for your child, create a dummy account and begin interacting with others. Familiarize yourself with the policies and communication mediums of the site so that you aren’t blindsided if a problem arrives.
- Talk to your children about what is going on with their online life, the same way you would ask them about their offline friends and social activities. This will increase the chances of your child coming to you with a problem.
- Use software that has social monitoring and time control capabilities, and let your child know you are using it and why. Explain that you trust your child, but you don’t trust everyone else out there. Set reasonable time limits for Internet use, assuring your child gets out of the house and exercises this summer.
About the author:
Stanley Holditch is an online safety expert for McAfee. Stanley Holditch has worked in Internet content management and marketing since 2002, and has been the Internet Marketing Manager for InternetSafety.com since April 2009 (InternetSafety.com was recently acquired by McAfee). Stanley is a father and is passionate about responsible online parenting and Internet safety. In short, Mr. Holditch believes that while the Internet certainly poses new challenges to parents and children, both parties must confront the challenges by mutual education, open communication, and using the right tools.
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