Last week we talked a little about hosting virtual events for your kids, so we thought it would be important to share computer tips for parents to help their children stay safe online.

In the ever-expanding world of websites, webcams, texting, online gaming, cell phone email and social networking, parents are increasingly being advised to safeguard their children’s use of the internet. Internet safety lessons have even become a compulsory part of the school curriculum in England for children aged five years and up.

Kids these days are very comfortable advertising their lives. Yes, the internet offers some cool things for kids, but it also presents some scary possibilities. The internet offers absolutely no anonymity because the information on sites such as Facebook is never 100% private.

Internet Safety

Kids as young as six years of age are known to have their own Facebook page. Eighty percent of american youth have regular access to the internet and over 50% of these kids have little or no supervision online.

Sites like Facebook have taken steps to give users a better sense of content and privacy when using the site, but content should always be of concern for parents. Youth who have unsupervised access to digital cameras, computers, and webcams will continue to be vulnerable no matter what privacy settings are in place. Understanding the capabilities of current technology will help parents fully express their concerns when trying to navigate social networking website issues with their children.

Social Networking Advice: Facebook, Twitter and More

Social networking can be very appealing for youngsters drawn in by the possibility of increasing their friendships and social contacts through avenues such as Facebook or Twitter. The reality is that once a person signs up for sites such as Facebook, the site owns their photos and the information can be used by the site for various purposes.

How Kids Can Be Safe Online

Here are some helpful tips for parents and kids to stay safe online:

  • Ask yourself how safe are your children online?
  • How much personal information have they revealed?
  • Be wary of revealing information such as age, sex, location, height, weight, measurements, address, and school location for online strangers to see.
  • Stop and think before posting any information online.
  • Don’t post photos that could be embarrassing in the future and negatively affect situations such as educational or job prospects.
  • Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.
  • Be very careful of what comes in and goes out from your home computer.

“Stranger danger” also applies online. Children and parents should both ask themselves: “Who might be looking in on your online presence? It could be school officials, employers, news agencies, police, predators or anyone.”

Adults also need to be wary about what information is revealed about their family online, even in parent chat forums. Because computer users are often in their own homes in a comfortable intimate setting and have their guard down, they may be inclined to be too trusting and reveal too much of their private lives to total strangers.