Keeping your children safe on the internet

The ability to access information, at any time of the day, is a good thing in the hands of responsible grown-ups.

As a parent, you may have concerns about letting your child use the internet. There are lots of things they can discover that you may not consider appropriate. Equally, it is easy to contact other people on the internet - and you probably don't want your children chatting to strangers.

While it is easy to ban internet use all together, the internet is becoming increasing important to your child's education. Internet access is also available at libraries, friends' houses and elsewhere. By educating yourself and your child and following a few basic guidelines, you can empower your child to surf the Web safely.

The simple steps and links below are a good start.
  1. Understand the dangers. Pornography, sexual predators, financial scams, and cyber-bullying are amongst the risks. Specific dangers change all the time, so keep yourself up to date.

  2. Control access to the internet. Keep the computer in a common room, where you can see and discuss the sites they visit. You may also wish to download filtering software to prevent your computer accessing undesirable sites (try NetNanny. or CyberSitter). You should look to spend time with your child online and may wish to monitor the browser "history" to see which sites they are visiting. You may also wish to ensure you maintain password access to your child's email and other accounts.

  3. Talk about the internet. Open communication between parents and children about the joys and dangers of the internet is one of the best ways to keep your children safe. Surf with your child. Have them show you their favourite sites and activities. You should look to ensure your child is comfortable talking to you about anything they discover online. Make sure they know not to talk to strangers and to never give out their real name, address or other identifying information.
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