Keeping Your Kids Safe Online During Their Summer Vacation
Not only do kids sleep in late and play outside a lot during summer vacation, but often they also stay up late. Spending more time online during the summer, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and meeting friends in chat rooms and social networking sites are what kids today would often do. Although these online activities can provide hours of entertainment and learning, they can also expose kids to inappropriate content or people who might want to take advantage of them.
In order for parents to help protect their children online, it is not necessary for them to unplug the computer or be Internet gurus. Kristin senior director for security outreach at Microsoft Corp. which offers dozens of pages of online safety guidance and resources online for no charge at http://www.microsoft.com/athome, said that “Even if parents can’t tell a blog from a wiki, new technology safeguards and online resources can help them take more control of their children’s Internet use and create a safer online experience for the entire family.”
Also, in order to help block objectionable Web sites, control who corresponds with children, and guard against online attacks, family safety settings in many popular products such as Xbox 360, Windows Live and MSN Premium provide security tools.
Remember that you can also consider other tips from Microsoft.
Set clear rules for Internet usage. You need to prepare children for the online world just as you would for the real world. Guidelines should be established and you should know who they are communicating with and what they are seeing online.
Keeping personal information private. Don’t share personal information about yourself online -such as your name, address, age or gender–with people you don’t know in the real world.
Try to consider PC proximity. For PCs that don’t have family safety software installed, then it might make sense to place the family’s computer in a common room. This way, providing supervision as well as guidelines will be easier for the parents.
Be sure that communication between parents and children are open. When kids see something on the Internet that makes them feel uncomfortable, assure them they can talk to a parent or other trusted adult about it without fear of getting their computer privileges taken away.
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