Seven Essentials to Keep Kids Safe Online, Part 1

Essential #1: Put the Computer in a Public Place
Children should not have private access to the Internet. The computer should be kept in a place where Mom or Dad can walk by and see what’s going on. Privacy is a privilege, not a right. Children on the Internet are faced with new and challenging temptations, so close monitoring is essential. Parents should be able to read email and review sites the child has visited. Keep in mind that in this age of wireless Internet access, a child with a computer in a bedroom may have access to the Internet through the neighbor’s system.

Essential #2: Establish Accountability
Kids need to know that what they are doing on the computer is being watched. It’s amazing how easily kids will say things through their fingers that they wouldn’t consider saying in person. Foul language and explicit discussion about sex are prevalent in online dialogue between young people today. Look at the history of the sites your kids have visited. If they’re erasing their history, you can assume something is wrong and take action accordingly. Read the emails they receive and send. You don’t have to do this secretly. Your child should know accountability is required for Internet use. If you’re not savvy with a computer, have a friend check the computer for you.

Leader Tip: While you can’t go around checking the computers of the kids in your ministry, you can keep your ears open for what kids are talking about. Hearing what kids are doing will help you determine where kids and parents need more education.

So what are your kids talking about? Are you already hearing discussions about things they do on the Internet? What websites are they interested in? Do you see the Internet as a danger for kids? Leave comments and questions--we can help each other.

To read part 2, click here.

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