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Even though we can't watch our children every second, we still want to keep them safe. That's not always easy, however, especially when they're not in plain sight. At least we know when they're protected at home, right? Not necessarily, especially if your children have access to a computer. Online predators can be lurking anywhere and what we don't know can hurt us and our children. Below are some tips for keeping kids safe while online.
It's always a good idea to keep the lines of communication open. Your child should be aware of what kind of behavior is appropriate and shouldn't be afraid to ask any questions about things she doesn't understand. Don't be afraid of asking so many questions you alienate your child. It's better to be a parent and know what's going on, than be a friend and unaware. The important thing is to know everything your child is up to when she's online. If this annoys her, she'll get over it. One day she might even thank you.
One last tip is to teach; if you explain that the reasons for the rules are legitimate, your child is more likely to comply.
Here's another tip -- a lot of wireless routers (and regular routers, I assume) come with the option to block harmful sites. A parent can easily configure those routers to block any sites that aren't child friendly and set up other filters.
A little research is in order here, but most companies that offer parental controls make a big deal out of it in their marketing. It's worth mentioning that the filters I've seen are dynamic -- a company such as Norton (for example) will update a database of harmful or are not child friendly and the router will utilize that updated list when screen Internet addresses.
Considering the amount of garbage floating around on the Internet and the fact that kids tend to not listen to warnings from parents, a parental filter is a feature that is well worth considering.