Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Protecting children from the Internet

May 10, 2000

Click. Click, click.

That's all it takes. The speed of the Internet is incredible.

Now, the world's citizens are able to access tons of information at the click of a mouse. That's all it takes.

But with this new accessibility, danger lurks.

Today's children are growing up in a world of high-speed technology fueled by computers. And it's up to adults to monitor children's visits to the Internet to ensure youngsters are safe.

Children must know that homes have rules that govern the use of the Internet. Just as there are television programs that are not appropriate for all ages or all types of children, there are many Web sites that are entirely inappropriate for children.

By placing computers in high traffic areas of homes, adults can better monitor the images and words appearing on the screen. By sitting with children as they use the computer, adults can help children establish healthy habits.

By finding Web sites that children would enjoy and "bookmarking" them or adding them to a list of "favorites," adults can help direct children away from the use of search engines, where they might find inappropriate sites.

Every day, children stumble onto Web sites oftentimes, accidentally because they typed a few innocent words into a search field.

Many Internet providers offer features that allow parents to block their children's access to adult-oriented sites, chat rooms and bulletin boards.

Adults must talk with their children about how to deal with meeting people on the Internet. It's up to adults to discuss with children what to do if an Internet friend wants to see them in person or wants a child to send a photograph.

Children's safety rests in the hands of adults. The adults who talk with children and the adults who set up a safety net for their children are the ones who likely will succeed in ensuring their children's safety.

Before adults allow children to click, click, click, they should talk, talk, talk.

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