We published this in our newsletter in 1999. It is still relevant today.
|The Internet is an excellent tool for students to use, but is it really safe? Every experience a child encounters contains some element of risk, but here are some guidelines to follow to insure a safe journey on the Internet without infringing on your child’s privacy.
Take pro-active action.Whenever possible, try to address issues before they become a problem. When your children begins to use the Internet, talk to your child about appropriate use of the Internet or install parental control software. Keep the computer in a well-trafficked area so you can monitor the activity without imposing too much into their privacy.
Parental Control Software
Filtering programs that block out inappropriate sites containing adult language, topics or graphics is one safeguard, but it is not the ultimate solution. Many browsers also contain screening software such as Cyberpatrol. These programs are effective in screening out the majority (but not all) of inappropriate material, however, if children are determined to access the material, they will find it somehow. These programs may also cause a delay in downloading websites that are appropriate since they must be “screened” first.
Discuss Your Concerns with Your Children
Discuss with your children the risks of the Internet. Have your children agree not to reveal any identifying information online including their last name, town, age or school. They should never agree to meet anyone online without your permission.
Use your children’s experiences on the Internet as a way to discuss what your child is interested in. Go online together and visit sites that are informative, fun and/or educational. Stay involved and explore the Web with them to familiarize yourself with the areas they visit regularly.