Internet Safety for Your Child
December 17, 2015, Chennai
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For Parents | By Shubha Janardhan | July 02, 2015
The Internet can be a great resource for children.
They can use it to self paced learning, research projects at school, communicate with their friends, and play interactive games. Children who are old enough to typye in a few letters on the keyboard can have access to the world.
But that access can also pose a few issues. For example, an 6-year-old might do an online search for "Lego." But with just one missed keystroke, the word "Legs" is entered instead, and the child may be directed to a slew of websites with a focus on legs — some of which may contain inappropriate material.
As a parent, it is important to provide a safe environment for your child to grow and develop and work on the internet. That's why it's important to be aware of what your children see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves online.
As with any safety issue, it's wise to talk with your kids about your concerns, take advantage of resources to protect them, and keep a close eye on their activities.
Internet Safety Laws and Website your child uses
Make sure the websites that your child uses are COPPA compliant. COPPA requires websites to explain their privacy policies on the site and get parental consent before collecting or using a child's personal information, such as a name, address, phone number, or passport number. The law also prohibits a site from requiring a child to provide more personal information than necessary to play a game or participate in a contest.
But even with this law, your child’s best online protection is you. By talking to them about potential online dangers and monitoring their computer use, you'll help them surf the Internet safely.
Online Protection Tools
There are plenty of online protection tools that restrict your child from accessing certain sites or even accessing the internet beyond a certain time limit.
Getting involved in your child’s Online Activities
Aside from these tools, it's important to take an active role in protecting your children from Internet predators and sexually explicit materials online. To do that:
- Become computer savvy and learn how to block offensive material.
- Keep the computer in a common area, not in individual bedrooms, where you can watch and monitor its use by your children
- Share an email account with your child so you can monitor messages.
- Bookmark your children’s favourite sites for easy access.
- Spend time online together to teach your children appropriate online behaviour.
- Forbid your child from entering private chat rooms; block them with safety features provided by your Internet service provider or with special filtering software.
- Monitor your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account payments
- Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
- Forward copies of obscene or threatening messages you or your children get to your Internet service provider.
- Many sites use "cookies," devices that track specific information about the user, such as name, email address, and shopping preferences. Cookies can be disabled. Ask your Internet service provider for more information.
Warning signs of a child being targeted by an online predator include spending long hours online, especially at night, phone calls from people you don't know, or unsolicited gifts arriving in the mail. If your child suddenly turns off the computer when you walk into the room, ask why and monitor computer time more closely. Withdrawal from family life and reluctance to discuss online activities are other signs to watch for.
Taking an active role in your child’s Internet activities will help ensure that they benefit from the wealth of valuable information it offers without being exposed to any potential dangers.
Shubha Janardhan is the Co-Creator of Nidara.
Connect with Shubha: www.fb.com/snj104