Keep Your Kids Safe

The internet is a wonderful place, but it has it's dark side. There are stalkers, pornographers, thieves and all manner of evil people lurking everywhere, just like in real life. People who want to steal your money, corrupt your morals, bend your ethics or worse, people who want to target your children.
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Your kids are not safe on the internet. Not at all. Don't even think they are safe for a moment. There are dangers lurking everywhere, and if you let your kids run wild they will get hurt.

What can you do? First, get educated. Unfortunately, there are not a whole lot of books available on the subject. You MUST educate yourself for your kid's sake.

You also need to equip your computer with one of the special filters so that your children cannot venture into inappropriate areas. There are several available including Cyber Patrol and Net Nanny.

If your browser includes any built-in filters then turn them on by all means! If you use AOL, be sure to go through all of the parental controls carefully and turn off everything that might cause trouble. Also check the major search engines - many of them have the ability to turn on a "child safe" mode. If so, turn these on also.
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Most importantly, talk to your children. Explain to them what's happening and what to avoid. Let them know the dangers. Get them to tell you when undesirable things (such as pornographic spam emails) appear.

And watch them. Monitor their activities directly (by being with them and helping them surf the web) and indirectly (by checking their cookie files, browser caches and history lists). You might consider placing the computer in a common room such as the family room, or at least in a place that is visible from where you normally are at. This way you can watch over your children as they work and play on the computers.

Make sure you tell your children some simple rules, always explaining the reasons behind everything. Especially stress that they are not to give out any information about themselves to anyone on-line. This includes their name, age, phone number or anything else. Stress this over and over.

Monitor the time spent on the internet. Beware of excessive time spent on the internet by any children.

Also monitor what you children are looking at when you are not around. You can do this by checking the browser cache, examining the history folder, looking in the recycle bin and so forth.

If you are going to allow your kids to get on the internet, then this is the only responsible thing to do.

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