Moms (and dads) should be watching the internet | SummitDaily.com

Moms (and dads) should be watching the internet

Jennifer Hanson and Mark Udall
Guest columnists

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day, a day of recognition and appreciation for the exhaustive and endless work moms across the country have put forth to raise generation after generation of American children. While this recognition is nice and certainly appreciated, a mother’s greatest joy is in simply knowing that her child is happy, healthy and safe.

It is fitting that Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May, just before school lets out for the summer and moms take on an increased workload. While home for the summer, kids will be on the Internet more. A 2006 Teen Trends survey (Harrison Group/VNU) found that teens spend an average of more than 72 hours a week using electronic media, and we know that around 68 percent of 13-18 year olds in this study had created profiles on online social networking sites like MySpace. Numbers like that tell us that Internet safety needs to be on everyone’s mind.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we have teamed up to provide these tips for moms (as well as dads and other caretakers) to help keep kids safe and secure while online this summer and year round:

1. Get involved in your child’s online life. Talk with your kids about the places they like to go online. Find games you can play together or Internet sites that everyone can enjoy.

2. Utilize Internet Safety Software. Advanced Internet software with parental controls can help you filter out harmful content, monitor the sites your child visits, and find out what they do there. http://kids.getnetwise.org/tools/

3. Keep Computers Close. Keeping your computers with internet access in high traffic areas of the house can help keep kids safe online. http://www.netsmartz.org/safety/safetytips.htm

4. Require Appropriate Online Behavior. Help children understand that behavior that is not appropriate face to face is not appropriate on the Internet. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that cyber bullying is on the rise. If you think your child is a victim of cyber bullying, delete all current accounts and create new accounts. Report the incident to your child’s school and law enforcement authorities. http://www.incredibleinternet.com/index.php/do/get_page/pageID/148

5. Create and Enforce Internet Usage Contracts. Online usage contracts are a great way to establish rules and expectations about Internet use. There are many examples available online. http://kids.getnetwise.org/tools/toolscontracts

The online world that can be hard to navigate, especially for those of us who remember a time when there was no such thing as the Internet. Use these tips with your family to make your child’s Internet experience fun and interactive, as well as safe. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

For more information visit http://www.internetsafetycolorado.org.


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