Teaching Your Kids the ABCs of the Internet The Internet is good for… Start by explaining to your kids the many reasons why the Internet is such a great resource. Tell Learning them a bit about the history of the Internet, the new philosophy behind its creation and how we’ve Getting things Listening gone from slow dial-up connections to today’s activity to music superfast broadband. ideas Explain to them the social, academic and Talking to friends Playing entertainment value of the Internet. Provide them and games with some examples of great child-friend family websites, such as: Kids.Yahoo.com – Games, movies, music, jokes National Geographic Kids - Fun facts, educational games Nickelodeon – Videos, shopping, fun downloads Funology – Recipes, science experiments, trivia, craft ideas Setting Boundaries It’s important to remind your kids that their Internet privileges come with great responsibility. Explain to them the risks involved in using the Internet, but don’t resort to fear-mongering. Tell them you respect their decision-making skills and expect them to think critically when navigating the Internet. Tell them to behave on the Internet just as they would in real-life. For example, they know not to speak to strangers on the street and the same rule should be applied in the virtual setting as well (read more on cyberbullying). Similarly, they know it’s wrong to bully someone at school on the playground, so it’s equally wrong to bully someone via the Internet. You may also want to set a limit on how much time your child spends on the Internet each day. Though the Internet can be a valuable resource, too much Internet-use can discourage other healthy physical and social engagement. Parental Controls and Monitoring Teaching your children how to use the Internet responsibly is a crucial step toward ensuring their safety on the web. However, your job doesn’t end there. It’s equally important to routinely monitor your child’s Internet usage and to set parental controls on all your home computers. You can download free Internet filter software that controls what your kid can and cannot see when using the Internet. Though it’s important to establish a certain level of trust between you and your child, the Internet represents a myriad of temptations that can lead even the most well-behaved kid astray. Also, mistakes do happen. Your child could easily come across something inappropriate in set of search engine image results, on YouTube video or by clicking on the wrong link. In addition to installing parental control filters, it’s also important to physically monitor your child’s Internet use. Keep your computer in an open area of your home, such as the living room, so that your child is never left alone with the computer for too long a timeframe.