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Posted By: Lucy Costa, Vendor Specialist

 

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The internet is a powerful and resourceful tool, which provides useful information without having to leave the comfort of your home.   Going online is a fun and fast way to get information needed at your fingertips.

As parents, we have a difficult decision to make when allowing our kids access to the Internet.  If used appropriately, the Internet can provide our kids an abundance of useful information.  However, if used inappropriately, the Internet can be harmful to our children.  But the benefits outweigh the costs, if the Internet is used in a positive way.

I want to share with you the steps I took to keep my kids safe online when they were younger.  These steps are still very relevant today regardless of your kids’ ages.  Here are four easy ways to safeguard your kids:

  1. Communication– Talk with your children about the good and bad of the Internet and which sites are safe to visit.  Let the kids know you will be monitoring their computer use and their privilege of accessing the Internet can be taken away, if used inappropriately.  With your child, come up with a list of the various purposes the Internet will be accessed for.  Don’t forget to let them know how you can learn and have fun on the Internet.
  2. Computer Placement – Place the computer in a common area such as the kitchen or living room where your kids’ activities can be seen easily.   Enjoy preparing dinner, while your child is using the computer to research homework assignments.
  3. Parental Controls – I don’t know about you, but I had no idea that many electronic devices come with parental controls.   Parental controls are helpful in controlling the amount of time your kids spend online, restricting access to inappropriate sites or shows to watch, and many other safety rules to keep them safe online. Become familiar with these parental controls that help you, as a parent, monitor your kids’ activities.   If you are not sure how to use the parental controls, contact the company or manufacturer or do a quick search online. 
  4. Time Management – Agree on a time with your child when they should be online, maybe it’s an hour after school and a half hour before bed.  Keep in mind that for older kids, more time may be needed for school work.   Computer use should be limited, monitored, and regulated continuously with your kids, regardless of their ages.  Remember to stick to the plan as closely as possible for consistency. 

Remember to keep a healthy balance between computer time and outdoor fun activities.  Let me know how this works out for you and please do share your suggestions! 

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