Sunday, March 18, 2012

Internet safety for children

As much as I enjoy the Internet and appreciate the diversity it gives us with our homescholing, it can also be a very scary place. Click the wrong link, put in the wrong search word, and I know from experience you can end up where you may not have intended to go. On more than one occasion the kids and I have been watching what I consider an appropriate video and then I will look to the right of the video and the other videos with a preview image are not child appropriate at all. (nor something I care to see) I tend to be over protective a bit ;) but I do not think it's good especially at a young age to see certain things. It's almost impossible to get images unstuck and out of your head! The computer can be a window in which corruption of all kinds can shine through right into your home. That sounds like it's an exaggeration but it's not!

In our house our main computer is in the living room and if one of the kids is on the laptop it is at the kitchen table. When our son is on the computer I am always in the room and often right beside him. The only issues we have had with him on the computer is him trying to buy more game tokens at a game site he likes....with PAYPAL. LOL! Oh and a few times not really knowing what he was doing he would click on popups only for me to come back in the room to a screen full of advertisements. (none bad thank goodness)  For our daughter, she can use the computer more independently and she likes to watch videos on youtube, so we are really starting to think more about Internet safety. Thankfully our main online curriculum and any of the online sites we have tried out for The Old Schoolhouse are big on keeping children safe.

Here are some other ways to ensure your child is protected while using the Internet.

~~Ultimately educating your child about Internet safety is very important. Letting them know not to every give out personal information unless you as the parent are aware and monitoring what they do. Sharing an email address with your younger child would also be a good idea so you can monitor messages.

~Use content blockers and filters to control what your children have access to on the Internet. These tools block sites with explicit material or limits the sites that will come up if your child does a search. It blocks certain images that might not be appropriate and also blocks sites that may contain certain words or key phrases.
 ~Tracking software is another consideration to be aware if what your teen is doing online. Being able to trust your teen is important but also making them aware that you monitor the sites that they are visiting may make them think twice about what they do online. I do not have teenagers (YET!) so I'm not exactly sure what a teens reaction would be to having their parents tracking where they go.

In many cases protecting your child in the Internet world is just as important as protecting them in the "real world". What do you do as a parent to keep your child safe online?

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