WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Internet can be an important tool for the academic and social development of children and teenagers, but it can also expose them to certain risks, including bullies, scammers and inappropriate content.
The Federal Trade Commission recently launched a campaign to help parents and guardians of children deal with cyber security. The campaign is called Net Cetera and it features tips, videos, and downloadable guides.
“The idea is to help parents start a conversation with their children, regardless of their age, about online security,” said agency spokesperson Alvaro Puig. Listen to the full interview (mp3 file, 5MB).
Online Safety for Children under 8 years old
These days, children start using the Internet at an early age. They can surf the web by using the home computer or other electronic devices such as mobile phones that belong to adults. Parents and guardians should supervise small children at all times, as they might come across inappropriate content.
Once a child is ready to surf the web, parents can take the following measures to ensure safety:
— Choose which sites they can visit
— Activate parental controls if available
— Frequently monitor their online activities
Online Safety for Children between 8 and 12 years old
As kids become more independent and knowledgeable about the Internet, they might start using it to research homework or to search and explore topics that interest them.
Parents or guardians should first establish rules and guidelines for Internet usage and consider these simple tips:
— Put the computer in a visible, shared place in the home. This allows kids to use the computer independently without being alone.
— Continue using parental controls
— Talk to children about their experiences online
— Establish limits for frequency and duration of their online sessions
“You don’t need to know much about technology. The important thing is to speak with your children about their experiences online and to be aware of what they are doing, what sites they are visiting, how much time they’re spending online and who they are interacting with,” said Puig.
Online Safety for Teenagers
Teenagers usually have Internet access in more than one place, including cell phones and computers that belong to their friends. That’s why it’s important that parents and guardians teach their children how to behave online.
“Family values should also apply to their behavior online,” said Puig.
Online safety experts recommend that parents and guardians:
— Establish rules and talk to their teens about the consequences of breaching them
— Keep an open-door policy where parents can walk in on teenagers surfing the web
For more information about online safety visit OnGuardOnline.gov.