Keeping Your Kids Safe While Surfing the Net
Posted By MyGuy
The popularity of social networking continues to grow among kids. Social
networking sites can provide a secure way for kids to connect with each
other, but they can also be exploited for any number of reasons, good
and bad. It is recommended that parents be diligent and take steps to
keep their kids safe online.
Kids of all ages are getting into social networking. Facebook and MySpace
require all users to be at least 13 years old, some sites are geared for
children even younger.
Here are some tips for parents who want to help keep their kids safe online:
Use content filtering software - Websense, Cyperpatrol or Netnanny , to
name a few can protect your child from inappropriate content, maintain
a log of where they have been or require your password based permission
to continue on to a specific website. It can also save a lot of money
by cutting down on malicious software that can be harmful to your computer.
Explain the Difference in Sharing and Oversharing - While social networking
is about sharing photos, thoughts and experiences, explain to your kids
that they should never share personal information such as phone numbers,
address, bank account numbers, passwords or their Social Security numbers.
Also, talk about what constitutes inappropriate photos or language and
stress the fact that-while you may be able to delete them-you can never
fully take them back.
"Never talk to strangers" applies online too - One of the first
rules we teach our kids is to never talk to strangers; remind them that
the rule holds true when online. Even though chatting with a stranger
online can seem harmless, the relationship can evolve and grow until the
stranger has earned your child's trust-and can then exploit it.
Set privacy settings - Social networking sites let users determine who
they want to share information with. Talk to your child about restricting
access to his or her profile to only friends or users in safe networks
such as their school, clubs or church groups.
Talk to your kids - Let your kids know that you are always ready to talk
if they are ever threatened, bullied or feel uncomfortable about an experience
they had online.
Surf safely with them – If you haven't already, set up your own
account in the same social networks. This will help you better understand
what social networking is all about. You can also then "Friend"
your child and keep an unobtrusive eye on what they are doing.
Federal law requires sites collecting identifying information from children
under 13 to get a parent's consent first. Report concerns about data
collection from children under 13 to the Children's Advertising Review
Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus at www.caru.org/complaint.
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