How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

Your Child’s Safety on the World Wide Web?

      All parents have different ideas and standards for what they will expose their kids to online and in the real world.   This part will talk about:

  • Assisting parents in learning of the advantages, risks and information on  guiding your child’s using email, surfing the Web, and especially “chat”

  • The proper strategy for your child’s online venture to stay out of harm’s way

Put YOU (The Parents) as the BOSS

Unfortunately, just like in the real world there are good people and terrible sick people that can pose a danger to children online.  Also unfortunately some information on the Web is for sure not appropriate for kids, or is “ok” only for certain aged adults.  Almost all parents have a tough position about what their kids should be exposed to, and are disturbed about how simple it is to get that inappropriate information online. Sexually explicit, violent, racial information, are usually what normal parents are extremely worried about..

The Good News

         Here are some things what parents can implement to assist in making their kid’s online experiences in safe hands:

  • Stay absorbed in the subject
    Being proactive in your children’s day to day life, including his or her online life, is the best way to insure your child’s safety.  Use our parenting tips in this section and learn with your children about fun things to do as well and discuss the dangers that the web can offer..

  • Be Proactive about information and the tools available
    Learn about the proper “control tools” and how they can help you keep your child safe and away from the guarded information online. You will find some useful information in the next section on these tools.

  • I am an activist for Children (The ParentsDirect Team!)
    If there are times where you as a parent notice information or material online please do not hesitate to call your ISP (Internet service provider).  Take control of the situation with the providers and also convey to your children the proper way to surf the WWW.

Locating and purchasing the proper Parental Control Tools

At this time, there are three primary places from which parents can obtain parental control tools:

1.  Check with the local computer stores that retail software. They usually sell some of this “filtering” software.  Some different names of such software are as follows:

Netnanny CyberPatrol

3. Your Web Browser. You can also use certain Web browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, to enforce parental control rating systems.

Keep an eye on other parental control tools, such as “safe areas” for kids, new types of rating systems, and search engines designed to find only information that has been approved for families.

Be Sure to Find Out Whether the Tool:

  • Has the protection features best for your family;

  • Can be used on the type of computer you have;

  • Requires a subscription fee after you’ve bought the product; and

  • Works with commercial service providers, with direct Internet connections, or with both.


Email Safety

 

Web Safety

Positive Benefits for Your Child

Access rich educational and cultural resources (text, sounds, pictures, and video) otherwise unavailable to most people

  • Obtain up-to-the-minute information

  • Improve ability to understand and evaluate information

  • Stay informed by accessing your community and school Web sites

  • Play fun and educational games

  • Learn educational skills useful in future jobs

    History of Child Safe Websurfing

    Danger/Risks

  • Easy-to-find sites with sexually explicit images and text

  • Easy-to-find sites promoting hatred, bigotry, violence, drugs, cults, and other things not appropriate for children

  • Inaccurate, misleading and untrue information

  • No restrictions on marketing products such as alcohol and tobacco to children

  • Marketing that deceptively collects personal information from kids in order to sell products to them or their parents

  • Requests for personal information for contests, surveys, etc., that are used in unauthorized ways

  • Easy access to games with excessive violence and gender stereotypes

    Parenting Tips

  • Keep computer in family area to better monitor your child’s activity

  • Regularly spend time online with your child to learn about his or her interests and activities

  • Teach your child to end any experience online when he or she feels uncomfortable or scared by pressing the back key, logging off, and telling a trusted adult as soon as possible

  • Establish an atmosphere of trust and understanding with your child by not blaming him or her for uncomfortable online experiences

  • Discuss the difference between advertising and educational or entertaining content and show your child examples of each

  • Show your child the difference between sources of information that are credible and those that are not

  • Teach your child to never give out personal information unless he or she has your permission and you know how and by whom the information will be used

  • Establish strict rules for ordering products (and then monitor credit card bills)

  • “Talk back” to Internet Service Providers and content creators to let them know what you want and expect from them in keeping kids safe online

    What Parental Control Tools Can Do

  • Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids*

  • Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids*

  • Allow you to specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child

  • Help you monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later

  • Allow you to set different restrictions for each family member

  • Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids

  • Block advertising that appears at the top of a Web page.

  • Enforce time limits set by parents

    * Each control tool determines whether materials are “inappropriate” or “safe for kids” differently. Make sure you ask what criteria the tool uses and how the evaluation process works; then check out the tool yourself.

Internet Safety Basics

1. Use the parental controls available on the commercial online services. These services screen public content and provide online hosts to monitor chat rooms. Check into filtering software to screen out adult sites on the Web.

2. Consider placing the computer in a “family room” in your home and make use of the Internet a family activity. Check the screen periodically and let your children know that you are interested in what they are learning online.

3. Ask your children where they go online, and have them show you. If your children are more familiar with the Internet than you are, let them teach you about it, you will both enjoy the lesson!

4. Monitor online time. Be aware of excessive hours on the Internet.

5. Make sure your children are aware of online rules. They should know never to give out their real name, address and/or telephone number, or agree to meet with someone person to person. Advise your children that some people on the Internet conceal their real age and identity. Create a list of online rules and post them by the computer.

6. Monitor your modem telephone bill. Adult Bulletin Board Systems are easy to access by any communications software. Check out any unfamiliar numbers on your bill.

7. Support and encourage your child’s use of the
Internet, and participate in new learning experiences.
Acquaint yourself with their online pals and email
habits. Be aware of correspondence with strangers.

Danger/Risks

 

  • Offensive language and adult conversation
  • Because of its interactive nature, the most likely activity online through which children will encounter people who want to harm them
  • Too much time online, which limits a child’s well-rounded development by taking the place of friends, schoolwork, sports and other activities

What Parental Control Tools Can Do

 

  • Allow access only to monitored chat rooms or block access to all chat rooms
  • Block private messages between a child and another user
  • Limit your child’s ability to give out personal information

Contact them!

As a parent, you can help protect children from harmful or inappropriate marketing practices by letting companies know what you think of their advertising and marketing practices and by contacting your Congressional representative or the Federal Trade Commission if you experience practices you think are wrong.

Who to Call if You Have a Problem With Behavior Online

Most commercial online services have strict terms of service that help protect you and your child in the event you encounter offensive behavior. If you or your child are the victim of harassment or other trouble online, contact your commercial or Internet Service Provider immediately. Offenders can have their accounts terminated, and service providers usually will cooperate with authorities when there is the possibility that a crime has been committed.

If the situation involves incidences of online enticement of children for sex acts, child pornography or child prostitution, you can report the incident to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline by calling toll free, (800) 843-5678, or going to their Web site. The CyberTipline forwards all reports to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.