The Internet has brought many benefits, but it has also raised some safety concerns such as the potential for crime and predators. To make sure children have a safe and rewarding experience on the Web, parents and educators must understand where they go, what they do and the safety issues they may face.
Here are some basic cyber safety tips
For parents of children aged 5 – 7 years old:
Always sit with them when they go online and limit access by book marking some parent-approved sites. Chat rooms, instant messaging and message boards are not age-appropriate.
Start teaching privacy issues and teach them to never give out personal information.
Encourage them to tell you about anything that they come across that is disturbing or makes them feel uncomfortable. Remember to stay calm and let them know that they did the right thing in coming to see you.
For parents of children aged 8 – 10 years old:
Keep the family computer in an area that is easy to monitor. Talk to your children about good values and possible hazards associated with computer use.
Create “Family Internet Rules” with the input of your children. This should include a list of sites that are approved, permission being granted when any information is given out and perhaps the length of time spent at the computer.
Do your homework and find some reputable clubs or chat rooms. Help contribute to a computer experience that is free of undesirable cyber intrusions.
For parents of children aged 11 and up:
Computer-use will mushroom into multiple social networks and countless bookmarked sites. Parents must acquire a new vigilance and approach in dealing with cyber hazards.
Take time to familiarize yourself with your teen’s computer interests. A regular exchange will help keep the lines of communication open.
CSC’s best advice to parents is that since computers are here to stay, parents should start young and instill good and safe habits with the Internet. Develop and nurture a relationship of trust and exchange and show interest in your children’s cyber life.