Stay Safe Online: Internet Safety Tips for Back to School

Saturday, August 28, 2010 Posted by Dina N

Internet safety is very important these days. As our kids join the 'net generation at a very early age - for school and play - we have to make sure they know how to stay safe on the web.

Below are some tips on how to stay safe online from InternetSafety.com. I am working on a review and giveaway of Safe Eyes, their parental control software, so make sure to check back if you are interested in this product. In the meantime, feel free to use these pointers to protect your children.

1.       Teach online safety – Be sure that children know about online stranger danger, what to do if they come across a website or have an online conversation that makes them uncomfortable, and so on.

2.       Provide a clear list of ‘don’ts’ - Explain, for example, that children should never give out personal information such as their last name, address, city, phone number, siblings’ names, school name or parents’ workplaces.

3.       Block inappropriate websites – You can automatically prevent access to sites that have been “blacklisted” because of objectionable content by using parental control software. Advanced programs let you select which website categories will be filtered (adult, alcohol, dating/personals, drugs, gambling, hate sites, pornography, profanity, sex, violence, weapons, etc.). You should also be able to block specific websites and/or keywords of your choice.

4.       Explore the Web together - Spending time online with your children, whether visiting websites or Facebook or playing an online game, can help you steer them in the right direction and enable you to better understand their digital world.

5.       Beware of ‘back door’ dangers – Sometimes an objectionable YouTube video will be sent by email or embedded on someone’s social networking page, or a peer-to-peer file sharing program like BitTorrent may have inappropriate photos or other objectionable material. This is another reason to monitor your children’s computer use.

6.       Monitor ‘live’ communications such as chat and IM – Online sex offenders usually meet victims in chat rooms; cyberbullying often happens during IM sessions; and both can happen either place. Some parental control software can block IM programs, save the full text of IM conversations, and alert parents if children post forbidden information.

7.       Encourage trouble reports – Children should feel comfortable coming to you if they encounter something or someone online that makes them feel uneasy or threatened. Be sure to applaud their honesty so that they will keep you informed of future problems.

Disclosure / Disclaimer: No compensation was provided for this post. I feel the topic is important, and I am sharing this information.

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