Parents view the internet as a necessary learning tool while at the same time they face increasing concerns about the possibilities of inappropriate photos and information popping up on their child’s computer screen. Add in cyber bullying and lurking predators, no wonder some parents consider refusing to allow children access to a computer.
There are ways to alleviate your concern while allowing your child to experience the learning, networking, and fun aspects of the “cyber world”. First and foremost register your child on SafeWave™; we are the only free safe site for children.
If you do not have the opportunity to join our program here are some Safety tips:
- Supervise computer use.
- It is always better to have the computer in an area that lacks privacy, like a family room - not in your or your child’s bedroom.
- Talk to your child about potential dangers online, let your child know about adults who make believe they are children or teens, to not open any unknown screen or downloads. Do not allow your child to use a webcam unsupervised.
- Teach your child responsible online behavior, they must never ever give out personal information, or their address, school name, events they attend etc. Make sure they understand that under no circumstances should they swap photos or arrange a face to face meeting with anyone.
- Have your child use a non gender specific name i.e. beach01 or book2
- Set up ground rules for computer use and stick to them. Make an agreement with your child. Set time limits on computer access.
- Continue to stay engaged, reviewing and reminding your child of the dangers listed above.
- Be aware of what children are doing online and to whom they are talking.
- Talk to your child about their favorite online destinations, check them out together
- Utilize parental Internet controls provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- Have a parent controlled password for access.
- Always maintain access to your child’s online account and arbitrarily check his/her e-mail. Block ability to receive instant messages (IMs) from anyone you have not approved also restrict access to chat rooms you have not personally approved beforehand.
- Be aware of components of online games and how your child is interacts with others in the game. Periodically join your child as they play the game. Ask about how it is played, and who they usually play against or with.
- Find out what computer safeguards and programs are used by your child’s school, the public library and the homes of your child’s friends. If your child will be using a computer at a friend’s house ask the parents about their computer use guidelines (parental supervision, internet controls, etc).
Let your child know to tell you right away if anyone on line makes them feel uncomfortable, bully’s' them or if at any time they feel threatened.