Growth depends on desire. You cannot grow without desiring it and then acting on that desire.
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However, dangers do exist and it is important for kids and parents to be aware of these dangers and to know how to stay safe online.
This article features practical advice for both kids and parents.
Advice for Kids
The Internet is full of interesting web sites and is a great way to meet new friends across the world who share your interests. Unfortunately, not everyone you meet on the World Wide Web is friendly and some people even pretend to be someone they’re not.
To make sure you have a safe time while you’re surfing the Web, remember these tips:
- - Avoid giving out your e-mail address to people you don’t know
- - Never give out your full name, telephone number, home address or the name of your school
- - Don’t open e-mails or attachments from people you don’t know
- - If you visit a web site or receive an e-mail that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell your parent or whoever looks after you
- - Don’t tell other people your Internet passwords
- - Never agree to meet up with someone you have met on the Internet
- - Try to avoid staring at the screen for too long without a break
Some interesting web sites for you to try:
- www.kidscom.com – fun and games
- www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies – games and fun things to do
- http://kids.yahoo.com – Yahoo! kids search engine
- www.bbc.co.uk/schools – BBC Schools
- www.channel4.com/learning – homework help
Restricting Internet use to a PC in a family room is one way you can keep an eye on your child’s browsing activities. You will be able to take an occasional glance to make sure they are safe, without them feeling like you are watching their every move.
Letting them know your concerns and educating them about the dangers of the Internet will help them understand you are not trying to stop them enjoying the Web, just making sure that they have a safe experience.
There are also various software packages available that can help you monitor your child’s browsing when you are not in the room.
These programs can record browser web addresses, e-mails, and chat software, and can also filter and block certain web sites and even record what has been typed on the keyboard:
- www.softwarexpress.com – The Internet Babysitter
- www.cyberpatrol.com – CyberPatrol
- www.riasc.net/plg.aspx – Parental Lock Guard
- www.netnanny.com – Net Nanny
- www.naomifilter.org – Naomi
- www.surfsafe.co.uk – SurfSafe
If your kids use Google to search for things, in the Preferences next to the search box there are options under SafeSearch Filtering to block explicit images or text.
There is a plug-in available for the Firefox web browser called Gubble, which allows you to set permissions on which web sites kids can visit.
In Windows it is possible to create a separate user account that can be restricted so that the user cannot install harmful software, remove crucial files or change Windows settings.
Create a new user account for your child by clicking on the Start menu then Control Panel and clicking on User Accounts. Click Create a new account, choose a name and choose a Limited account then click Create Account.
You may also wish to put a password on your own Administrator account so that your child cannot use it to install or remove programs.
If your child regularly uses chatrooms, instant messaging or social networking sites, there is an electronic identity card service they can use to verify who they are talking to: Net-ID-me