In this day and age, you have to be proactive with your child’s safety online. Here are some great tips sent in by a community member, to help get you started (or help you continue) with Internet safety.
- Monitor use of e-mail programs, for programs like MSN, AIM, and Yahoo! Messenger. Make sure you know who your child chats with, and when they are chatting with those people. Make sure if they get into a chat room, you know if they are getting into private chat with others, or make sure they know to get off if some one makes the feel uncomfortable.
- Keep parental blocks turned on, and block all sites that could harm your child, or violate their privacy. Block all pornographic sites, and sites like My Space, or Facebook, because people may be able to find to much personal information about them. If they do get on a site like My Space, monitor their friends list, and look at all pictures that they upload to make sure it wont give a stalker a perfect hunting photo. Also, make sure there at not any inappropriate comments on their profile. If they are on YouTube, be sure they don’t upload have inappropriate videos on there, and make sure they don’t have dirty comments on there like “Your Hot” or “Hey Hot Stuff”.
- Limit time on the computer. If you limit the time your child is on the computer, you can better monitor what is going on. Also, if they spend less time on the computer, there is less time for them to get in trouble on there. Don’t let them go on the computer with friends while you are gone, because they may get into way to much mischief. Also, don’t let your child spend time on the computer past their bedtime, because it will interfere with their sleep. Don’t allow the computer to be turned on while they are dong homework, unless a computer is required to do it.
- Keep the computer in a position where you will always be able to see it, so you are able to see what is on the screen. Every now and then, walk by the computer and glance at the screen to see what they are typing, or saying in they are on MSN or Yahoo! If your child’s computer is located in a different room than the one your computer is in, consider setting up a web cam so you can see what is going on in the room with the computer your child is on. Always let your child know what your are doing, and if you are looking at their history, so they don’t feel your are invading their privacy.
- Make up a contract for your child to sign, so they know all the rules that are supposed to be followed while on the internet. If the contract is broken, punish your child, but don’t threaten to take the internet away from them. All that will do is just cause them to get mad and start to not like you. Punishment could be banning them from MSN or YouTube for a few days, or cutting their time on the computer short every night for a week. Just remember, don’t take the internet away, because some people have part of their social life on the internet, or may even want the internet to learn new things.
Taken from: http://chris.pirillo.com/2008/01/09/child-computer-and-internet-safety/