Monday, February 9, 2015

Keeping Kids Safer on the Internet Part 1

        Over the next few weeks will be giving you some great information about Internet Safety for your kids. Allowing kids to go online without supervision or ground rules is like allowing them to explore a major metropolitan area by themselves. The internet, like a city, offers an enormous array of entertainment and educational resources but also present some potential risk. Kids need help navigating this world. By exploring the Internet with your kids, you greatly expand its capacity as an educational tool. By providing guidance and discussions along the way you increase kids' online skills and confidence along with their ability to avoid potential risk.

Where do kids connect?
--Kids go online almost anywhere. They surf the Internet and send messages from a home computer or one of friend's home, library or school.
--Kids connect at coffee shops and other "hotspots" using laptops and wireless connections
--Internet-enabled, video-game systems allow them to compete against and chat with players around the world.
--Wireless devices enable kids to surf the web and exchange messages photographs, and short videos from just about anywhere

Browsing the Internet
--Browsing the Internet is like having the world's largest library and entertainment system at your fingertips. Kids are able to read stories, tour museums, visit other countries, play games, look at photographs, shop and do research to help with homework
--Potential RISK--
Kids may come across websites containing adult images or demeaning, racist, sexist, violent or false information.

Tips to Minimize Potential Risk
--Chose search engines carefully. Some are specifically designed for kids and others off kid-safe options.
--Tell kids when they come across any material making them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused to immediately tell you or another trusted adult.
--Help kids find information online. By searching the Internet together you can help them find good resources and show them how to do it the correct way.

Using Email
Kids and adults can communicate and a rapidly and cost effectively with people all over the world.
**Potential Risk
-- Kids are able to set up private accounts without asking parents permission
-- Anyone using email is vulnerable to receiving "spam" which can encourage the recipients to buys something, visit a website or spam may be sexually suggestive or offensive.
**Tips to Minimize Potential Risks
--Talk with your kids about their email accounts. Remind them to never share passwords with anyone but you. Not even their closest friends.
--Teach your children to not open up spam mail and if they do receive something have them to show it to you.

** info from May Clinic--And National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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