Children increasingly use the internet as a source of both fun and education. While it is indeed a wonderful resource there can be dangers attached to using the net and it makes sense to take some basic precautions. Children may access sites containing material that is pornographic, violent or racist in nature, or may receive unsolicited email containing nasty messages. They may also end up spending way too much time online, neglecting friends and other activities.
What can parents do?
Online safety rules
Keep the computer in a family room facing outwards where it can be more easily monitored by parents. This is probably the single most important thing you can do to help children be safe online.
Take an interest in what your children are doing online. Get them to tell you about the sites they are visiting and to show you how to use email and chat rooms if you don't already know. Find out what sites they access at school.
Talk to your children about what kind of Web sites and chat rooms are suitable for them to visit. Let them know that you will be monitoring their use of the net.
Limit access to the Internet to certain times
You can check the record of accessed sites in the temporary internet files folder or history folder. There are filtering programmes available, which control access to information on the Internet. These can be downloaded from sites such as www.cyberpatrol.com.
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Never to give out personal information such as their address, telephone number, parents' work address/telephone number, or the name and location of the school without permission.
Never to send photographs or anything else via email without first checking with a parent.
If they come across anything that makes them feel in any way uncomfortable they should turn off the monitor and tell a parent right away.
That people they chat to online are not always who they say they are. They should never agree to meet someone without first checking with their parents.
Never to answer any messages that are mean or upsetting.
Never to use bad language or send mean messages online.
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