Many parents have a concern over the safety of their children while using the Internet at home. Being able to block inappropriate material and limiting the types of websites kids can access is important to keep kids safe. Part of this process should also be for parents to educate their children about the proper use of the Internet. The other portion should be to set up the web browser and search engines with security features or programs that can prevent them from searching for inappropriate material, shopping online, or making accounts for social networking websites without parent permission. There are many online resources to help parents to keep their kids safe online.
Google’s Family Safety Page
Google has created an entire ‘handbook’ for parents about safety online while using Google, the most popular search engine. This page includes directions for parents to change the browsing settings for Google to restrict inappropriate material from Google and YouTube. There is also information and videos about topics that should be discussed with children about online safety including meeting stranger’s online, cyberbullying, sharing too much information online, and malware (programs that can harm computers). The best part of this website was the videos of actual parents who work at Google and their advice for keeping their kids safe online. One of the best tips they provide is that computing devices should be in central locations in the house so that parents can keep an eye on the computer and Internet usage.
There are many programs that can be purchased and installed on to the computers in the house that will help to increase safety for kids while on the computer and the Internet. Many of them have features including limiting times that kids can login to the computer or surf the Internet, filter search terms or results within a web browser, limiting the programs or times that programs can be used that are directly installed on the computer, and restricting chat or social networking sites. Reports of usage and possible alerts can be setup to inform parents via email. Some examples of safety programs include Net Nanny, Cyber Patrol, and PureSite.
Fun Online Safety Activites for Kids
There are many online interactive ways that you can educate your child about online safety. One of these is a video on BrainPop, a popular education site, with a video about online safety. The main characters, Tim & Moby, teach the children about being safe online including keeping information safe, not talking to strangers online, netiquette, and general rules for safety. To watch this video you either need a subscription to BrainPop or to sign-up for the free trial.
PBS Kids has a great video game that younger kids can play to learn about Internet safety called Webonauts Internet Academy. The game is very fun to play and will keep kids engaged in learning about topics like cyberbullying, information literacy, the difference between public and private, profiles, and values likes respect, citizenship, and credibility.
It is very important for parents to research safety tips, talk to their kids about safety online, and take appropriate measures to keep their kids safe on the computer and the Internet.
Article By Laura Ketcham
Picture By Ryan Somma
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