Monday, August 11, 2008

Child Internet Safety is Learned

Just as you would not permit your seven-year old child to go out to the mall and play by her or himself, you also should not allow your child to access the Information Superhighway without permission, guidance, and a host of safety precautions. Since children as young as five-years old are now accessing the computer and internet, these kinds of safety discussions need to take place at progressively younger ages.

Though you do not wish to scare your child, explaining the potential dangers in age appropriate terms is vital. You should caution a child against revealing a name or address to a stranger at the playground or store AND your child should also know not to give out such personal information to a virtual stranger.

As children get older and enter into online contact with other children, email safety is another aspect of child Internet safety which must be learned. Perhaps the most important bit of guidance you can offer is the limitation on the kinds of emails which should be opened. By and large it is a good idea to only permit the child to open emails from friends and family members whom she or he knows personally. All others should only be opened with you present.

While child Internet safety is learned, perhaps the easiest way of ensuring that learning is taking place revolves around the proper computer placement. Children should never have Internet access in the privacy of their room but instead should only surf the internet from a computer placed in a well-traveled area of the home where you and other household members can keep a watchful eye on the proceedings.

Sure, junior may balk at the idea of not having a computer all to himself, but when it comes to internet safety precautions it is safer to err on the side of annoying your child than permitting clever strangers unfettered access to your child’s private sanctum.


auntlee714 said...

For a fun way to teach internet and social networking safety, here’s a unit that includes an instructional video and a quiz. It’s aimed at middle school and up.

The video is a selection of silly clips supposedly posted to the MySpace pages of the famous puppy and some of her friends. The clips demonstrate mistakes kids can make – the clips and the quiz serve as a jumpstart to further discussions.

Kids can take the interactive Flash version online, or you can download a .pdf document and print it as a handout. The 10 question quiz covers the topics of cyber-bullying, privacy, safety, dangers of spyware and malware, etc.

The quiz doesn’t really focus on stranger-danger type concerns but rather gently and humorously reminds the reader that it’s possible to hurt people’s feelings, to mislead people who don’t realize you’re joking, to remember that online postings can be seen by anybody and that postings are often impossible to remove once posted.

writemind said...

I like your site and will definitely use it with my students. Thank you.

Lovette said...

Good post.