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Keeping Children Safe Online In Simple Steps

What unique risks are associated with children online?

The Computer and Internet are very important tools for your child’s learning and development but Children present unique challenges when it comes to the use of computers and the internet because of their natural characteristics: innocence, curiosity, desire for independence, and fear of punishment. You need to consider these characteristics when determining how to protect your data and the child.

  • You may think that because the child is only playing a game, or  typing a homework assignment, they can’t cause any harm
  • What if they unintentionally visit a malicious web page that infects your computer with a virus? 

Online predators present another significant threat, particularly to children. Because the nature of the internet is so anonymous, it is easy for people to misrepresent themselves and manipulate or trick other users 

Internet browsers allow you to restrict or allow certain websites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. There are other resources you can use to control and/or monitor your child’s online such as ISPs that offer services designed to protect children online…

These steps will help you protect your children from the harmful use of computers with the internet: 

  • Be involved – Consider activities you can work on together, whether it be playing a game, researching a topic or doing homework online. 
  • Keep your computer in an open area – If your computer is in a high-traffic area, you will be able to easily monitor the computer activity. 
  • Set rules and warn about dangers – Make sure your child knows the boundaries of what they are allowed to do on the computer. These boundaries should be appropriate for the child’s age, knowledge, and maturity. 
  • Monitor computer activity – Be aware of what your child is doing on the computer, including which websites they are visiting.
  • Keep lines of communication open – Let your child know that they can approach you with any questions or concerns about behaviors or problems they may have encountered on the computer.
  • Consider partitioning your computer into separate accounts – Most operating systems give you the option of creating a different user account for each user.
  • Consider implementing parental controls – You may be able to set some parental controls within your browser. For example, internet browsers allow you to restrict or allow certain websites to be viewed on your computer, and you can protect these settings with a password. 

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