Internet Child Saftey

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

The Internet today is a part of kids' natural environment. Most children have access to the Internet at school or home. While on-line computer exploration opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life, they can be exposed to dangers.

Here are some tips regarding monitoring your children’s internet usage:

  • Learn how to use the computer and the World Wide Web. Many public libraries and community centers offer information sessions that cover logging on to the Web, searching for information, and what sorts of places you can visit online.
  • Use the Internet with your kids. While you're spending time with them, you can help them to be safe and responsible online.
  • Familiarize yourself with parental control software, and check out the control features of your online service or ISP. Some programs allow you to filter specific sites, a group of sites that the software deems inappropriate, or sites with inappropriate keywords in them.
  • Teach kids never to give their personal information to people they meet online, especially in chat rooms and on bulletin boards.
  • Instruct your child never to plan a face-to-face meeting with online acquaintances, and to notify you if they are approached for an offline meeting. Tell them that whatever they are told online may or may not be true.
  • Get to know the communication tools that your child may use. Besides surfing the Web, a good deal of a child's time online may be spent communicating and interacting with others by using ‘chat’ programs.
  • When looking for interesting websites for children, make sure that they are easily accessible, the information provided is accurate and appropriate for the children and that it appeals to the child.
  • If possible, try and keep the computer in the most public place of your house where you can supervise your child’s internet usage. You wouldn’t want your child to be left unsupervised in a public park, similarly you don’t want your child to do whatever he/she pleases on the internet without you keeping an eye over his/her activities.
  • If your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room, it is possible that your child is doing something on the internet about which he/she doesn’t want you to find out. Be gentle, friendly yet firm with your child and talk frankly about your concerns. Remember, if you don’t talk about a problem, that doesn’t mean it does not exist.
  • Review what is on your child's computer. If you don't know how, ask a friend, coworker, relative, or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.
  • Communicate with your preteen about the dangers of internet as well as the wonders of internet. Educate your children about both the aspects of this mystifying world.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,