Internet Education for Kidsby Evelyn Block
The Internet is an incredible tool for learning and communication, but just as in real life, there are places children shouldn't go and things they shouldn't see. While many schools are now teaching students how to be safe on the Internet, it is a parent's job to be certain his child has been well-educated on Internet safety and use.
Guidelines for Use
Each family needs to establish guidelines for Internet use. It is often best to place the computer in a place that is frequented by several family members. This means a parent can frequently take a quick glance to see exactly what her child is doing on the Internet. Parents should also check the computer's browsing history to determine which sites their child has visited.
Children are used to meeting people and introducing themselves. Many are not aware that Internet communication is different from live communication. Most, especially younger children, don't really understand the risks of revealing personal information. Children should be taught that without permission from a parent, they should never tell anyone their name, address, phone number, school or if they are home alone.
Teaching Kids to Communicate Effectively on the Internet
Whether playing a game or chatting, kids often have the opportunity to interact with others online. If they have given out no personal information, they will not be lured into dangerous situations. However, they also need to know that they must maintain appropriate behavior online. That means they can't bully anyone or say hurtful things to or about someone.
Kids should be taught to never download a file from someone they do not know. If parents keep the computer's spyware and antivirus programs up to date, it will be unlikely that a child will accidentally download spyware. Sometimes, while searching for music files, kids accidentally end up on a site with sexually explicit material or inappropriate videos. Many file share programs are in violation of copyright laws. Parents can disable the upload feature on their computers to prevent kids from sharing files.
Many kids today have their own website or page on a social networking site. Parents should check to see that children are following the established rules, not inadvertently giving out private information, and that the material their child has posted is appropriate for everyone to see. It is important for parents to continually remind children about the appropriate use of the Internet and to check to be sure that the child is following all safety rules.