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Chapter 7. Family-Safe Browsing > Ten Tips for Kid-Safe Surfing

Ten Tips for Kid-Safe Surfing

Before you let your kids loose on the Web, share these tips to ensure a safer surfing experience:

  • Make sure that your children know never to give out any identifying information (home address, school name, telephone number, and so on) or to send their photos to other users online.

  • Provide each of your children with an online pseudonym so they don’t have to use their real names online.

  • Don’t let your children arrange face-to-face meetings with other computer users without parental permission and supervision. If a meeting is arranged, make the first one in a public place and be sure to accompany your child.

  • Teach your children that people online may not always be who they seem; just because someone says that she’s a ten year-old girl doesn’t necessarily mean that she really is ten years old, or a girl.

  • Consider making Internet surfing an activity you do together with your younger children—or turn it into a family activity by putting your kids’ PC in a public room (such as a living room or den) rather than in a private bedroom.

  • Set reasonable rules and guidelines for your kids’ computer use. Consider limiting the number of minutes/hours they can spend online each day.

  • Monitor your children’s Internet activities. Ask them to keep a log of all Web sites they visit; oversee any chat sessions they participate in; check out any files they download; even consider sharing an e-mail account (especially with younger children) so that you can oversee their messages.

  • Don’t let your children respond to messages that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or threatening—or that make them feel uncomfortable in any way. Encourage your children to tell you if they receive any such messages, and then report the senders to your ISP.

  • Install content-filtering software on your PC, and set up one of the kid-safe search sites discussed in Chapter 32, “The Internet for Kids,” (such as Yahooligans!) as your browser’s start page.

  • Subscribe to America Online. AOL offers great filtering options for younger users; you can set up your kids’ e-mail accounts so that they can’t receive files or pictures in their messages, thus protecting them from the worst sex-spam. AOL’s filtering options can also be configured to keep younger users away from chat rooms and other inappropriate content both on AOL and on the Web.



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