Safe Surfing

Keeping your kids safe while they surf the Web requires careful parenting and sensible precautions.

By FamilyTime


Let good, old-fashioned parenting kick in when your child goes on line. Filtering software and blocking services are effective partners in the struggle to keep your kids safe on the Web, but neither obviates the need for your participation.

The Wonderful World of the Internet
The Internet is a wide and wonderful world, full of fun and great information for children and they should be encouraged to participate. But it is also home to pornographers, hate-mongers, and just plain unsavory characters.

Sensible Precautions
To help your child navigate the Web happily and safely, follow a few sensible guidelines:

  • Put the computer in the family room or another well-traveled room of the house.
  • Spend time with your child while he or she is surfing the Web. Identify and bookmark appropriate sites.
  • Know your child's password and whom he or she e-mails.
  • Be available to review or discuss any unpleasant or upsetting information your child comes across while surfing.
  • Set ground rules for using the Internet. Make sure your children know never to:
    • Give anyone their name, address or telephone number.
    • Give anyone credit card information.
    • Send their photograph to anyone.
    • Agree to meet in person with anyone they meet on the Web.
    • Strike up an ongoing relationship with anyone they don't know. Even if they follow the above four rules, something could slip into familiar chats that the stranger is fishing for.
    • Go online when no one is home or late at night.

Filtering Software and Blocking Systems
These are helpful aids for keeping your kids safe. Filtering software prevents children from logging onto a wide range of sites. They also are programmed to filter out sites with certain words contained in their names.

Most large Internet service providers are capable of blocking inappropriate sites. It's up to you whether to take advantage of this service.

Tracking systems let you monitor what sites your child is visiting. Teach yourself to take advantage of this capability.

Join Your Child On Line
Let your child teach you things he or she learns on the Web. Consider designing a home page together. Send each other funny or supportive e-mail. Share Web sites with each other.

Encourage your child to log onto FamilyTime when you are at work or away from the house to keep up with family activities. Go to FamilyTime Calendar.

The more you make the computer and the Internet part of your family life and not something you don't particpate in together, the better off your kids will be.