04/18/14 by Mike Catania
Parents probably have quite the love and hate relationship with the internet, especially when it comes to their kids.
The internet reinvented the way we do research, find news, weather or sports and how we communicate and socialize with one another. But the wonder and innovation that is the internet also created another piece of technology that parents must monitor. They've been bestowed the responsibility of making sure their kids aren't using the world wide web for anything more than school work or perhaps a little gaming.
Exploring the internet isn't just for little kids, either. Teenagers are just as apt to start searching and perusing web sites even more than younger children, particularly given the inception of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites that aren't necessarily regulated for content.
You could say the same thing for the entire internet as well.
And with that onus on parents' shoulders, they're undoubtedly taking steps to make sure that their kids not only understand the gravity of what they can stumble upon on the internet but how to differentiate between what's inappropriate and not.
Simply turning kids lose on the internet, given its vastness, isn't a smart idea. Parents have to take more than just a passive approach and take the time to really drive home the point that the internet can actually do more harm than good.
So what specifically can parents do to educate their kids before it is too late?
1. Make the computer a family affair: Moms and dads are busy, but that doesn't excuse them from using the computer first and then stepping aside to allow their kids to follow suit. Parents should make it a point to use the internet together with their kids, especially if they're younger and just hitting their teenage years. This won't work so much for older kids, but sitting down with them before they get older might nip the problem in the bud.
2. Scan, scan, scan: Older teens could be tempted to test the proverbial waters and take a sneak peak at something they shouldn't be. Parents should make it known that the family computer or any computer in the house for that matter is fair game when it comes to running scans or checking internet history to see what sites have been visited. This shouldn't be prefaced as a threat but rather healthy check ups of sorts to make sure no one is using the PC or Mac for the wrong reasons.
3. Password sharing: This might be a tougher sell for older kids and teenagers as far as making it a point to tell them that if they have any email or social media accounts that the password must be public knowledge for the parents.
4. Location, location, location: This one is easily overlooked for younger kids. The household computer needs to be in a centralized location, preferably an office or somewhere out in the open so a casual walk past by mom or dad can note anything on the monitor that shouldn't be there. Putting the PC in the kids' bedroom won't do parents any favors as far as being able to keep tabs on content.
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