>> Oct 10, 2013
Just like the real world, the Internet is a dark and dangerous place, filled with all sorts of shady individuals concealing malicious intent and opting for malignant results. Of course, the wide variety of such members of the community don't make it all terrible, but it means that you have to take certain precautions, just like in the real world. Of course, as an adult you can probably smell most of them – seeing the “Click here to win a new iPad” sign doesn't really cause you to “click there”, does it? However, your child doesn't have your experience with online villains and trolls, so when he or she sees the mark, you can be sure that they will want that “free” iPad and can download all sorts of malware or advertising software in the process. That's why, as a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure when your child enters the web, that he is prepared for what's coming because what's coming is not going to be a walk in the park. How can you do that?
Understand the Internet
I've already told you that just like the real world, the Internet is filled with vile and disgusting human beings, but I will do it again so you get my point more clearly. On the Internet, anonymity gives certain individuals the power to persuade others that they are something else. For example, a user going by the name of Mr Kitten with an avatar of a kitten can contact your child and ask about personal details such as address and name. Of course, if your child is not familiar with the risks, won't know that Mr Kitten isn't one of Mr Rogers' pseudonyms online so he will happily oblige the stranger. This is a terrifying yet very real possibility. You need to know where you can go in order to avoid such people and where you shouldn't. Basically, it's not really all that hard, you just need to know your way around the Internet. For example, children's sites are usually safe for several reasons – they are constantly being monitored by responsible moderators and they give the parents control over their children's activities. That being said, you should still teach your child that certain sites are bad, especially those involving flashy images and tons of advertisement.
Teaching your kid how to use the Internet is just like teaching him how to ride a bike, and the best way is to be there and to use training wheels. When you first introduce your child to the online world, you should always be present in the sessions he is spending. Using special browsers optimized for children can help, but that doesn't mean that you should pass your parental responsibility to the programs. You should actively teach your children what to look out for when they are online and how to protect themselves. They should know that they should never, under any circumstances reveal their real and or address. They shouldn't tell their passwords to anyone and they shouldn't be mean to anyone online. Remember that you, as a parent, are the one who is responsible for your child learning all this. Special browsers can help, but don't count that they will do all the heavy lifting.
The sad truth is that you have so much going on that you can't spend every passing minute with your children, which means that you can't always be there when they are online. Even if you've done all you could in order to help them understand that perils of the Internet, it's still not unimaginable that they might enter bad websites, even by mistake. This where filtering comes beautifully into play. It will help you manage the content your child has access to. The truth is, though, that no matter how many tools you get at your disposal, the important thing is to teach your child to use the Internet properly. Nothing can beat that.
Author Bio: Jessica Conars is passionate freelance blogger and loving mother. She is currently part of http://www.tidycleaning.co.uk/deep-cleaning-services-south-west-london/ and she loves her job. In her spare time she loves to take long walks with her family.