Internet Safety Overview
Whether you are new to the Internet or a well-seasoned surfer, safety for your family should be considered at all times. Most likely you will never be stalked because of being online, but better safe than sorry. The price is too high to make a careless mistake.
Learn To Navigate The Internet
Being Internet savvy is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Take the time to go through one of the many Internet Tutorials that are available. Not only will it help to protect your children, it will teach you how to better navigate the Internet, so you can find the information that you need.
There are many filtering programs that are available. A filtering program will block access to many pornographic sites. Installing them are fairly simple. There are also Internet Service Providers that filter the Internet at the server level. Before installing the software or signing on with a filtered Internet service provider, here are a few questions that you may want to ask:
- Can the filter be over-road, if I want to access objectionable sites?
- Does this limit access to chat rooms?
- What percentage of objectionable sites does this actually filter?
- How is the filtering done? Is it humans that decide the list that is OK or is each page scanned for objectionable material?
Full reviews of filtering software can be read here. (some of these programs are free)
Using a filtered search engine is also a good option. There are many that will only return family orientated sites. To learn more, click here.
Checking Your Child’s Internet Activity
Did you know that your browser keeps a record of the sites that are visited? It is easy to see what sites your child has been visiting.
Rules About Using The Internet
Make it clear about what you deem appropriate behavior on the Internet. Creating a list of rules before you encounter problems will help. Write up and sign a simple “user agreement” with your kids, where you agree to how you will answer certain questions. Make a big deal out of it, because it is a big deal. Children need to be reminded constantly that the Internet can be a dangerous place.
Never Give Out Personal Information On The Internet
Often children will be asked to give out personal information. You must make sure they understand that this is not safe. A few pieces of information can lead to a disaster. It makes the point about how easily they can get into trouble. You may want to take sometime to unlist yourself from Internet directories, also.
Children love to chat. Is it safe? First they need to have a very clear understanding that it is not safe to give out personal information. It is very easy to get comfortable with a person and give out too much information over time. If you decide to let your child chat it should be monitored very closely.
When you send a letter to someone, do you send out your first and last name? It is very easy for someone to find you with just a little bit of information. Take the time to see what name your email program sends out. Also, it is wise to scan your child’s email before he or she gets it, because it may contain objectionable spam. Using the filtering option can help to protect your child from getting an ugly surprise.
A Starting Place
Does the page that automatically loads when you open your browser have enough to keep your child busy? If it doesn’t consider changing your start page. There are also many other great starting pages available or you can use the starting page of your child’s favorite site. The instructions to change it will work for any site just by substituting this site’s url for another. Please note that this will not stop them from wondering into objectionable sites.
Creating a Family Webpage
Creating a site about your family is a lot of fun! But please keep these safety issues in mind as you create it.
No matter what steps you take to protect your children, the best policy is to surf with your children. At least be close by so they can ask questions. Spending time surfing together will open up a whole new world of discussion for families. If a child is persistant enough they can over-ride any barriers that you put before them. If they can’t over-ride the barriers you place on your home computer they will just use a different computer without filtering. Being open about the dangers is the best policy and surfing with them is the best policy.