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Parents strongly urged to closely monitor children's Internet usage

Article offers tips to parents on keeping kids safe online

The good, the bad, and the ugly. These adjectives all accurately describe what's available on the Internet. While the World Wide Web is full of useful information, unfortunately it is also jam-packed with information that is inaccurate, unsuitable and sometimes dangerous for children. That's why it's so important that parents understand the dangers of the Internet, as well as closely monitor the online activity of their children. The following "10 Tips for Parents" was taken from www.PointSmartClickSafe.org.

TIP 1 (Stay Secure)
Learn about what parental controls, firewall and antivirus protection you have. Check the website of your Internet Service Provider, computer manufacturer and operating system (e.g. Microsoft Windows Vista or Apple's Mac OS X). Good overviews can be found at GetNetWise and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

TIP 2 (Ask an Expert)
If you don't feel knowledgeable about Internet issues, talk to your school or public librarian. They have a wealth of experience and resources to share.

TIP 3 (Check What Rules Your Child's School Uses)
Check with your child's school and learn about their "acceptable use policy" for Internet use. You may want to adopt those rules for online activities at home.

TIP 4 (Stay Informed)
Sign up for e-newsletters or discussion forums to keep up to date on Internet safety issues. Cable in the Classroom's Media Smart e-News, Common Sense Media's Newsletter and Blog, iKeepSafe's Newsletter are good examples.

TIP 5 (Be a Teacher and a Role Model)
Teach your children about media literacy and Internet safety.

TIP 6 (Develop Rules for Behavior with Your Child)
Together with your child develop and prominently post a set of rules and expectations for online behavior near the computer. Common Sense Media and NetSmartz Workshop have good examples.

TIP 7 (Set Time Limits)
Set rules about when and for how long children can be online

TIP 8 (Stay Involved)
Put the computer in a public place where you can monitor your children's online activities.

TIP 9 (Ask Questions and Show You're Interested)
If your children are creating web pages, videos, blogs or an online profile, ask them to show you what they are doing and explain their thinking in doing it that way.

TIP 10 (Make Age-Appropriate Choices)
Limit younger children to using child-friendly search engines like Yahooligans!/Yahoo Kids!, Cable in the Classroom or other educational Websites created for children.

If you have any questions regarding using or monitoring the Internet at home, please feel free to contact WPS Technology Coordinator Vicki Jones (443-4332 ext. 3226) or WPS Media Specialist Dave Privett (443-4332 ext. 3232).

Parents Encouraged to Closely Monitor Children's Internet Usage

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