Now that my husband's thinking about buying MC her own computer, of which I am still be bit skeptic about, I guess it is also time share this article I wrote a few months back.
More and more kids are getting busy on the internet. Despite all the software being advertised that are supposed to help adults supervise their kids’ computer use, I believe that the best way to avoid problems is to be aware, to get involved.
Most people say that a computer in the room of a child twelve years old or younger is not recommended - instead, if you want one, install it in a place where everybody can monitor everybody. I myself would want to monitor my kids until the age of 18. Meaning, they might want to have a computer in their own rooms, but I would want them to keep their rooms open when they are using the internet and chatting. I am not strict. And I know I can trust them, but how about the strangers in this wide, wide world? I am just careful.
It is also important to be informed. Make time to learn. If you are not yet aware of how a computer works, sit down in front of one and click away. If you don’t know how the internet functions, call someone who can properly guide you. Get involved with chatting, emails, site visits, etc. Learn enough to be comfortable with what you can. You would feel better and safer if you know how it works.
Then you must inform the children the rules about using the computers which could be the following:
- Never volunteer personal information such as telephone number, address, name of school to your chat mates.
- This follows, never give information about your friends or your parents and relatives to any stranger.
- Create a separate email address that you can use to communicate to someone you have only just met or people you met in the internet. This email address would be specifically used for new contacts.
- Don’t send your photo to anybody who you've only met through chatting.
- With an adult supervision, try how it is with using a different age or different gender when chatting. You will notice that it is very easy to do, and it is fun. Make sure you are dealing with someone who is true.
- Add no strangers into your friends list.
- When you find someone unpleasant in the chatroom, you must bring the attention of the moderator at once. Then ignore the person immediately and switch off the PC.
- Trust your feelings: if you meet someone that makes you uncomfortable, break off the discussion and switch off your computer.
- Don’t forget to take note of this person so you can react faster when you meet him again in the chatroom.
- If you really want to meet with someone from the chatroom, ask your parents first. The meeting place should take place in public. Take your parents or a friend, but don’t go alone.
Make sure the children know these rules. It is safe to make a clear copy of these rules and post it near the working area where the computers are.
You might want to save the sites visited by your kids into the browser’s favorites. This could prevent confusion and further surfing that could lead to the kids stumbling on undesirable sites.
Let's be open with our kids. It is more effective to ask and talk about things than to ignore them.
You might also start explaining to the kids about sexuality, the different cultures, and the confusing words which they might encounter in the internet. You must lead them gently. This is a developing and very influential media. Computers are for everybody's consumption now. We should learn how to deal with it in our life. would help your child be aware of all the new experiences they would encounter especially with the sexual contents of the new media.
First posted at PMN Techmomma.