The Internet, IM and The Dark Side of Social Media

As technology evolves, the Internet is a considered a norm as a communication and learning medium. Teenagers often IM instead of calling. While the anonymity of the Internet establishes a filter to face to face conversations, it is also a very real danger. Internet safety for kids is something that should be addressed at a young age. If you have children or are a guardian to a child or adolescent, you would not let them walk around the streets by themselves. Attend to children and teach them safety. The world of the Internet is no exception.

There are many things that you can do to protect your child from the dangers present within online communities. It is important to start at a young age. Just like when you teach a child to cross the street, you tell them to look both ways, when you teach a child how to use the Internet, make them aware of the dangers and offer deterrents to steer them the other direction.

Chart depicting the evolution of social media

As technology is evolving to an everyday norm, expect children to begin using the computer at a young age. When they do, sit down at the computer with them. See what they like to do, what games they enjoy playing, who they talk to. In this way, you can guide them to safety. Help them avoid inappropriate websites or links. By spending quality time at the computer with your children, you can lower the barrier of parental communication and help them to raise alarms when something bad comes across their screen.

As children get older, they will inevitably have an increased desire for privacy. This can especially be an issue with teenagers. Consider putting the computer in the living room or kitchen or perhaps some other high traffic area of the house. This way, the teenagers will have less opportunity and desire to visit inappropriate websites or engage in other misplaced behavior on the Internet.

It is important to continually engage in conversations with your children. Be open with them so that they will want to keep you in the loop of what is going on in their lives. The more free they feel to be themselves around you, the more they will want to share with you, and will not consider doing something that you would disapprove of them doing. Be available to talk to them about anything going on in their lives, with their friends, or at school.

While you should maintain a level of trust with your kids, it might be wise at times to monitor their cell phones and other mobile devices. Even if you do not do so regularly, the idea of you monitoring them will deter teens from engaging in inappropriate behavior online.

If your kids are a mischievous age, make sure that you install porn blocking filters on your computer and Internet, like shown on this website. Block any websites that you find inappropriate and set filters on your web browsers. Make sure to keep passwords away from the kids and make them so they will not be something obvious that your children could easily figure out.

Internet safety is not that much different than safety outside the home. Address the issue of strangers with your kids. Stranger danger applies online as well. Teach your kids not to talk to strangers. It is never a good idea to send any private information to someone you do not know. Never share pictures, names, phone numbers, or addresses with anyone you do not personally know. Do not open emails from strangers. Oftentimes, they may contain viruses. Teach your kids by example. Show them how to use the Internet appropriately. A lot of times, kids mimic what they see, so show them what you want them to imitate. Exhibit good Internet habits yourself.

Social networks are increasing in popularity. Make sure that your kids know the dangers. Anything posted online can be retrieved by others. Do not consider anything you post to be as private as it was before it was uploaded. Make sure that your kids are aware. Know their friends and who they talk to via social media.

Most importantly, if anything abnormal occurs, make sure your children feel safe coming to you. This way, if anything bad happens such as them accidentally going to an inappropriate website or someone dangerous attempting to make contact with them, they will come and alert you immediately.

Internet safety is a growing concern with kids in today’s society. The Internet truly is the world wide web. Do not let your kids get caught in the web unprepared. Raise their awareness with these Internet safety tips.

 

Be smart with Instant Messaging and Social Media