Article Summary:Internet safety tips parents need to share with their children and teens to keep them safe.
As a parent, you can't always be there to watch over your kids as they make each keystroke, nor would you want to. However, there are some very easy things you can do today to reduce the risk for your kids. Every parent can do the following things to protect your kids on the Internet:
1. Computer Location
Take the computer out of the kids' rooms and place it in a common area in the house. Your kids are much less likely to do something if other people are around. Your kids will be more aware, and that's a good thing.
2. Talk to them.
Sounds simple doesn't it? Just talk to them about personal security. It's just like reminding them to lock the door when you're out. Remind them to "lock" the Internet door. Here are two important things to tell them:
- Don't give anybody your password.
If anybody gets your password, they can find out all your personal data, and some people will use that.
- Don't give strangers your address.
You just don't want strange people showing up, or stalking you. And this may sound silly, but it's already happened. There are weirdoes on the Internet who use fake identities. And don't give your phone number to strangers either.
3. Look at their MySpace pages.
A friend of ours found out that his daughter's 13-year-old friend had posted pictures of herself in her underwear on MySpace. Her parents never looked at her MySpace pages. Kids don't have adult judgment, that's why they're kids. There have been two confirmed abductions of girls who displayed confidential information on MySpace, including a girl abducted in a mall outside Boston this year.
4. Look into Internet Monitoring Software
There are low-cost products that invisibly monitor the activities of your kids, and privately emails you the results as often as you like. The best of these software products track internet sites visited, downloads, chat room conversations, and IM.
Steve Cross, President of Guardian Software, is a columnist, author, and the former President of family-friendly internet pioneer YourFreeStuff.com. Steve wrote the book "Changing Channels", and was a columnist for the Gartner Group's "Channel Media" newsletters for years. Before purchasing Guardian Software he served in senior level executive positions with several software companies. For more information visit Guardian Software.