Kids Safety on the Internet
The internet is a bountiful resource for finding educational information and entertainment for all the family, but it also has unregulated adult orientated material that parents will not want their children to see. Worse, there are chat rooms where unsupervised children may be stalked online by adults posing as younger friends. To avoid these dangers parents need to understand the internet and take certain precautions.
This short note aims to give you as a parent some basic advise on what to do so that your children can enjoy the internet safely
It would not be a good idea to provide a young child with internet access from his (or her) bedroom where he cannot be supervised. Spend time with your children as they learn to drive on the internet superhighway so that you always know where they are going and what they are seeing. This will enable you to introduce rules about what they can and cannot do as they go. Site the computer that they will use in the room where you spend most time together with the screen in full view.
Make sure that children know not to give out personal information such as name, address or telephone number to strangers on the internet. Kids can become aware of you entering information for yourself (when making online purchases for example) and must know why not to do the same. It is a good idea for a child to use a pseudonym if posting messages. Do not allow them to send pictures of themselves and do not connect up a webcam.
Do not download software from the web unless you know that the provider is reputable. Use good firewall and virus scan software to help avoid problems with spyware, and keep up-to-date with system updates.
Set up accounts for your children on the computer that are distinct from the ones you use. This can be done from the user accounts tool on a PC control panel window and will reduce the risk of them accidentally entering the same areas as you do, e.g. by using your browser favourites. It also means they will not get access to saved passwords that you use to do your online shopping. Individual accounts can also have less entitlements making it more difficult to accidentally or deliberately download software from the web that may be malicious.
If your children like to search with google, set the preferences to filter out adult sites. Discourage them from entering random domain names into the address bar by switching it off from the View menu.
Be wary of online friends that they meet on the internet. They may not be what they seem. Above all, make sure that your children know not to arrange meetings over the internet without telling you. Any meetings should be in a public place and they should be accompanied by a responsible adult.
As your child gets older they will want to use the internet more on their own. Try to keep in touch with their activities. Know how to access their computer and learn how to view their web favourites, web history, e-mail, recently viewed documents etc., Continue to do that until they are old enough to be responsible for their own actions.
Page created 4 January 1997,
Last updated 29 May 2006