My Top 5 "Keep the Kids Safe Online" List
I am always horrified and saddened when I see stories that involve missing children. As a parent, a teacher and a human being, I can't imagine anything more horrifying. I am watching the story about the missing child from New Hampshire (whose body was recently found in the Connecticut River) with the same horror and shock as everyone else in the nation, and it is a grim reminder about our responsibilities to our children, and their safety.
We all know, unfortunately, that there is evil in the world. It's our job, as responsible members of society, to do what we can to ensure the safety of other, but more importantly, the safety of children. As the mother of a stalking victim, I have been personally reminded every day about how important it is to keep a close eye on the behaviors and emotions of my own child.
From a parent perspective, I can offer some helpful hints on what my friends and I have done to ensure that our children be the most responsible on-line users they can be. While we can't be sure about ALL that they do online, we can at least sleep better at night knowing that we've done as much as we can to teach them to be responsible and wary internet users.
It's never too early!
Here's our Top Five Keep Our Children Safe list for the internet. We hope it helps at least one person.
5. I think that early intervention, talking to them when they begin learning about using the internet at school, is an important item. Be open about what dangers are out there, and remind them daily about smart choices. Be a PEST. Who cares if they get angry? We all know that everything we do will get them mad -- so there is nothing to lose here.
4. Make sure when they are online it is in clear sight of where you are. The rule at our house is that no one is allowed on the computer unless you're in plain sight and we can watch. I don't mean that I intend to watch every minute, but I don't want you to be anywhere where you can hide the screen. Period, no discussion.
3. Facebook? You can only have an account if the parents are friends. And parents, this is the time to get the account. You don’t have to tell anyone what you’re having for dinner, or what movie you are seeing, but you have to be able to see who is friends with your child, and what they are posting in their page.
2. There should be a time limit for computer usage. It's an educational tool, a social tool, but NOT A WAY OF LIFE. Get outside, for goodness' sake.
1. Familiarize yourself with ways to block sites that are not appropriate and monitor the history of where your child has been. Is this sneaky and a bit like spying? You BET it is. Do it. There are no rules when saving your child's life.
Being a responsible parent sometimes means that your child will be made at you for a couple of years. But you know what? That 50 or so years after it MORE than makes up for it.
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