Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Internet Smarts: Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

The world-wide web is:
a. An extensive library of intellectual treasures
b. A dangerous place for kids
c. An exciting playground for kids
e. A random collection of facts and opinions masquerading as facts, often challenging to distinguish from each other.
f. All of the above. 
The internet world is like a city: jam-packed with information and resources worthy of the finest museums, but also holding menace for the unwary.  You wouldn't let your child wander unsupervised and unprepared in a city.  The risks are very real -- internet predators do lure kids into meeting them, resulting in tragedies that include abduction and murder. So in the same way that you appropriately monitor your child's physical whereabouts, you'll want to supervise your child's internet usage and teach her web smarts, from net ettiquette to web literacy to simple safety. 
Where do you begin?  Online, of course.  Start by educating yourself; then you'll be in a better position to protect and direct your kids. Just remember that while your kids may know more than you do about technology, you know more about life. And you are allowed to set the rules and enforce them. You’re still the parent!
Once you educate yourself, launch into some homeschooling on net safety for your child.  Luckily, there are some great sites for kids to go through to learn cyber safety.  Stay nearby so you can assist -- and learn!

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