What Can Parents Do About Online Safety

3 12 2006

It should come as no surprise that parental involvement is the key to keeping kids safe online. You can lecture your kids, you can install filters to block objectionable websites, you can spy on your kids and you even can try tokeep your kid off the Internet, but none of those tactics are as effective as engaging them in conversation about what they’re doing online.

This is especially true in the “Web 2.0” era of the interactive Internet when kids are not only “downloading” inappropriate information but “uploading” information about themselves in social networking sites like MySpace and even video sites like YouTube. Today, parents have to worry not just what their kids “see” on the net but what they “say” as well.

So what does it mean to be an involved parent? It doesn’t necessarily mean standing over your kid’s shoulder every time he or she goes online, but it does mean talking with your kids – especially your teens – on a regular basis about their internet activities.

And don’t just focus on porn and predators. There are other “risks” for kids ranging from cyber bullying to net addiction to commercial exploitation. If your kids open up about bad experiences, don’t overreact or blame the victim. Listen carefully and appreciate that fact that they’re coming forward.

Your children may not want to talk about any negative experiences they’ve had online, but don’t let that stop you from talking with them about dangers on the Internet. Don’t exaggerate but do warn kids that getting giving out personal information and getting together with people they meet online can be dangerous. Let them know that the safest way to deal with unwanted solicitations is to not respond.

Don’t think that kids aren’t listening. Just as with messages about smoking and other dangerous substances, parents do have an impact. A national survey of teens conducted by the Boys and Girls Clubs found that “more than 1 in 3 youth (37%) stated that their relationship with their parents/guardians was most important to them… Surprisingly, nearly half (45%) of all respondents said that their parents most significantly influence their decisions, rather than their peers.”

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One response

5 12 2006
Deb Parisi

This is such an important subject. Understanding the information that you give away online is an important deterrent to Internet threats. Please visit this great site and learn what child safety authority Linda Criddle teaches about family safety online.

Your parents taught you to look both ways before crossing the street. Now, learn the rules of the road-and help protect yourself online with Internet child-safety authority Linda Criddle. Using real-life examples, Linda teaches the simple steps you and your family can take to help identify and avoid Internet dangers-and still enjoy your time online.

Linda Criddle/Author
Look Both Ways: Help Protect Your Family on the Internet
http://www.look-both-ways.com

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