The Internet is a dangerous place for children to navigate. Your child does not have to actively seek any undesirable website or look for friendships with ill-intentioned people to be exposed to it. Danger is always one click or friend request away. Adults that are responsible for the well-being of a child cannot take for granted that the child is safe on-line. Parents must take every measure available to ensure that the child does not view adult-oriented material, be solicited by adults posing as children or provide personal information to people or websites that are unknown.
Create a Windows user account for each child in the family. Adjust the parental controls for each account to limit what sites your child can visit while on-line. You can manually block specific sites or create a list of sites that can be visited while blocking all other Internet access. All user accounts can be monitored from the main account used to create the others. Check frequently to see what sites the child is visiting and block sites as needed.
Keep the computer in a common area of the home and limit its usage. Allow the child Internet access a couple hours before or after dinner, in a place that an adult can observe the online activities.
Use an anti-virus or spyware protection program. These programs can be purchased or downloaded for a fee. Anti-virus and spyware programs block unwanted programs or material from being viewed on the computer. These programs continually update their list of dangerous sites and block them accordingly.
Monitor the child's activity on social networking sites and e-mail. If you allow your child to have a social networking or e-mail account, create it for them and keep the password so that you may view the activity.
Talk to the child about Internet safety. Discuss the dangers of chatrooms and social networking sites. Instruct children to never talk to strangers or accept friend requests from people they do not know. The child must know that she should never provide any personal information or e-mail addresses to any website or person. Have the child ask an adult before downloading anything from a website, or any e-mail attachment.
Tips and Warnings
- If you want more information about children's privacy online, contact the FTC, toll-free, at 877-FTC-HELP (TDD: 866-653-4261).
- If your child is targeted by an adult-oriented site or solicited sexually by another adult, contact law enforcement.
- Many newer video game systems and phones can also provide Internet access, it is important to monitor or disable this function as well.