These days everywhere we go and everything we do involves the Internet. We use it to shop, bank, read the news, do research. You are all using it right now as you read my blog.
The scary thing about the Internet is that our children know more about it then we do. They may be looking at inappropriate material, or talking to online predators and we wouldn’t even know it.
When I was a child, my parents used to ask me a series of questions before I left the house to go out with friends. They wanted to know, Who I was going out with?, How I was getting to my destination?, What time I would be returning?, Who was going to be supervising us?, etc etc etc….. Many of the parents I speak to these days have never even looked at their child’s buddy list, My Space page, Friendster account or Facebook page. As parents, we need to sit down with our children and make sure that they know everyone on their buddy list personally (not that they met them online) and that they have their privacy settings set correctly. A lot of children have famous people as their buddies on these accounts. How do we know that the person pretending to be one of these famous people is not an online predator? If your child can’t tell you the first and last name of every buddy on their list, then that buddy needs to come off the list.
I also urge parents to make their own My Space or Facebook page, and make your child one of your buddies, so you can keep an eye on what they are doing online.
I recently discovered that my friend’s 11 year old daughter had a computer in her bedroom. I asked my friend, if she would allow a total stranger to come into her house and go into her daughter’s bedroom, close the door, and talk about whatever they wanted? Of course not, she said. The computer needs to be in a high traffic area of the home, so we can keep an eye on what our children are doing and who they are talking to.
A great website to check out is http://www.netsmartz.org/ ,it has lots of information on how to keep your child safe online and it has games for the kiddies.