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Internet Safety for Kids

by Rosanne Lorraine | July 8th, 2008 | Elementary

Social media has penetrated the lives of children, teens, and adults alike. These sites encourage interactivity, and it enables people to exchange personal details and information about themselves. It is now incredibly easy for children to share videos, pictures, and private messages to communicate with their “friends” in social networking sites. However, these benefits come with a downside as well.

The Internet attracts predators and unscrupulous individuals who want to take advantage of children’s naivete and inexperience. In fact, there are some sites that forbid access to children under the age of 13 or 18. Of course, this does not stop the children from trying. It is essential for parents to help their children understand that there are dangers related to using the internet. Parents should not try to stop their children’s online social activities though, they just need to limit and moderate it. Below are some tips for safe social networking:

Help them identify what type of information should remain private – tell them the reasons why it is important not to disclose certain things about themselves, their friends, and their family members. Information including full name, street address, phone number, social security number, and any financial information should never be revealed.
Explain that they only should post information they are comfortable with seeing – even if their privacy setting is active, their profile can still be seen by a broader audience. Encourage children to think about the content, the images, and the videos they will be posting in their blogs and whether they will want their teachers, coaches, friends, and family members to see it.
Remind them that there is nothing private over the Internet – they need to realize that once they post something online, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to take it back. This is because even if they delete the information on their own website, it might already exist in another person’s computer, and it still can be circulated online.
Use privacy setting – you also can restrict what your kids will post on their websites. Social networking sites have relatively reliable settings. Show your kids how these settings function so they can use them to limit the people who can view their profile.
Don’t let your child talk about sex – research shows that kids who don’t talk about sex on the Internet are less likely to meet their predators. They also should avoid any form of risky behavior in using the Internet.

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips. I especially think the last one is important. The children most at risk are those who are having trouble adjusting in their offline lives and go on to the Internet looking for help and answers, emotional support and even the desire to sexually experiment.

    I wrote about this in a recent post about Online Predators: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2008/04/03/protecting-kids-online-the-myths-and-realities-of-online-predators/

    Another thought: Have you ever heard of accountability software? Accountability software is specifically for adults who want to guard where they go online without any blocking or filtering. Combined with filtering, it’s a great Internet safety solution for the whole family. If you want more info about it check out my post “Is Filtering All There Is?” – http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2008/06/12/is-filtering-all-there-is-introducing-accountability-software/

  2. Aunt Lee says:

    For a fun way for parents to jump-start a discussion about internet and social networking safety, here’s a website that includes an instructional video and a very easy quiz.


    The video is a selection of silly clips supposedly posted to the MySpace pages of the famous auntlee.com puppy and some of her friends. The clips demonstrate mistakes kids can make online.

    The 10 question quiz covers the topics of cyber-bullying, privacy, safety, dangers of spyware and malware, etc.

    The quiz doesn’t really focus on stranger-danger type concerns but rather gently and humorously reminds the reader that it’s possible to hurt people’s feelings, to mislead people who don’t realize you’re joking, to remember that online postings can be seen by anybody and that postings are often impossible to remove once posted.

  3. I use Trend Micro Online Guardian to monitor my kids internet activity from anywhere. The parental control software allows you to view their activity 24/7.

    They are running a promotion right now, and you can read other’s reviews at http://promocodeshare.com/trend-micro-promo-codes/

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