My kids are always eager to earn computer time. I use that time as uninterrupted dishwashing or dinner-making time, so although I'm in the room, I'm not always at their shoulder. It's up to us to teach kids how to use the computer and internet safely. Here are a few of my tips:
- Safe Search ON - Make sure that Google Images Safe Search is set to "Strict"
- Name, Age, Location - Never tell people this information online
- Which are Ads? -Take your child on a tour of a website and have them identify the ads on the page. Sometimes where our kids go isn't as dangerous as the ads they might click
- Admin Permission - Change your computer's settings so that no program can be downloaded without administrator (YOU) permissions
- The Internet is Permanent - Never write anything online you wouldn't want everyone you know reading
- Explain Internet Intimacy - It seems that you know people online better than people in real life because it's a one-sided relationship (you're projecting your feelings onto someone else.) And how this can be a dangerous mis-judgement
- Changing Websites Requires an OK from Mom - They aren't allowed to change the website without your approval.
- Teach them the Home Icon - If they are ever on a website and have gotten either lost or confused by the content, they can always click on the home icon (or whatever bookmark you decide) which will get them back to someplace safe. Practice.
- A Parent is the Only One Allowed to Clear the History - This is more for older children, but moms and dads are the only ones who are allowed to clear history, so you can review activities.
- Explain About Cookies - How little bits of data about you are stored on your computer for websites to access on another date.
- You Have Password Access - You have access to your child's accounts at any time. You don't have to use them, but you have the ability to login and check on them at any time.
- Things That are Free Aren't Free - Ads, pop-ups, specials, they can all hide spamware or other nasty bugs. They are NEVER allowed to click something that promises a free whatever.
- Forms Asking for Information - No filling out forms or surveys without a parent's permission. Sometimes these are data mining efforts to get your childen's details.
I found this family contract from SafeKids.com that you can print out, one for teens, one for kids, that outlines specific rules for your house. Check it out!
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What are your rules and tips for teaching kids online safety?
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