Online Holiday Safety
'Tis the season for online fun. As schools break for the holidays, children typically spend more time at home using technology. Before your child gets online, make sure you are taking steps to help keep them protected from potential Internet dangers.
Experts advise parents to place the home computer in a common area. This allows mom or dad to keep an eye on the user's Internet activity.
Set rules ahead of time for using the computer. With school out, are they able to be on it all day? You might consider setting hours of use as well as designated times - to avoid sibling fighting over who gets to log on when. You should also talk to your child about which sites can and cannot be accessed.
For little ones, you might "bookmark" favorite age-appropriate sites that your child can visit. This makes it easy for them to find what they are looking for and gives you control over the kind of content they are seeing online. There are plenty of fun sites that also offer some educational value. That way your child will be using that brain even when not going to school!
Try to check in with your child's account regularly. Do you know who their Facebook friends are? What about online game play and chat rooms? Don't assume that what you don't know won't hurt you. Checking out your child's activity will help keep you tuned into any potential problems.
Remember to talk to your children about never giving out personal information such as their home address, phone number, email address, password or school information. This seems like a given but with social sites gearing younger and younger, some kids forget that the person they are "talking to" online may still be a stranger. This is a good time to remind your child to keep private information, private.
Don't forget to make sure your child knows that the "rules of Internet use" apply when they are at someone else's house too. Holiday breaks often mean hanging out with friends or visiting relatives, where it can be tempting for children to surf the net and explore the web in ways that they wouldn't at home.
Happy Holidays from SafetyWeb!
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