A major survey undertaken by the Media Awareness Network and Industry Canada in March 2001 found that 99% of Canadian children have used the internet, with 79% going online at home. The survey reveals that parents don't always know what their kids are up to. For instance, among the young internet users who have received pornographic junk mail, 78% didn't tell their parents.
Easy access to offensive content on the internet is just one concern of parents trying to shepherd their children through a field of modern technology. Chatrooms (allowing real-time, typed conversations online), instant messaging (a "chat service" for a closed group of friends) and also cell phones, pagers and walkie-talkies all connect your children to the big, bad world.
Electronic media are seductive and it's hard for children to walk away from. It's up to the parents to provide the control.
With our comments we are including suggested sites which you can click on to assist you to ensure the safety of the internet and other technology for your children. At the very bottom of this page we include the referenced material and a summary of the recommended downloadable product sites with comments.
Internet Safety & Managing Your Kids' Net Time
Make an appropriate use policy for the house and post it next to the computer. A sample contract is available at GetNetwise.com or the House Rules at www.media-awareness.ca. A time limit is important while rewarding good internet behaviour with more time online.
Making children comfortable enough to tell you when they find something offensive on the Web is a big step in safe surfing. Most important, don't be afraid to monitor your children while they're online. Don't you or your child give out your child's email address to just anybody.
A recommended and popular software program is
Content Watch which is probably the most effective and flexible Internet filter available today and where you can easily customize your settings to fit the needs of each member of your family. It is the only family-oriented application that allows you to manage your home Internet use from a remote location.
When researching topics for school projects, try search engines designed for kids, such as KidsClick.org, KidsEdge.com, and FamilyFriendly.com
To Summarize Main Points Of Managing Your Kids' Net Time
1. Keep the family PC with Net access in a common room, instead of the bedroom, particularly of a younger child. Not only is it imperative that you oversee your children as they go oline, studies have also shown that computers in kids bedrooms (like TVs) make it hard for them to get to sleep.
2. Create a safe place for Internet play. A low desk is ideal if the computer is only for young kids. Chairs with wheels are tricky for little ones to get into.
3. Surf the Net with your kids. If you're not Net savvy, educate yourself. Having children comfortable enough to tell you when they find something offensive on the Web is a big benefit.
4. Limit your kids' time online and get them outside, playing in the real world. A North American epidemic of childhood obesity is partially blamed on a generation of physically inactive mouse clickers.
5. Encourage use of search engines designed for kids and invest in a software program that protects families from offensive Web content by filtering undesirable sites. A highly recommended program is Content Watch
and Net Nanny
Chatrooms, Instant Messaging, Cell Phones, Pagers & Walkie-Talkies
Our comments and suggestions for Internet Chatrooms and Instant Messaging and the other forms of technology are on The Other Technology Page
Protecting Your Family From Identify Theft In The Cyber Realm
A great article with some great ideas and recommendations By Cherie A. Geide, Ed.D. for the Cybercitizen Partnership and some other fine recommended sites are on The Protecting Your Family Against Identify Theft Page
Referenced Material & Downloadable Product Sites
References: Media Awareness Network; Young Canadians In A Wired World survey of March 2001 by Media Awareness Network and Industry Canada; Family Magazine issue of July/August 2002; SafeKids.com; SafeTeens.com; Family Radio Service
Recommended Downloadable Software Sites
Net Nanny Products from ContentWatch provide Internet Protection software, including parental controls and internet filtering software, computer cleaning utilities, anti-phishing controls, and more.