Children are now exploring a wide variety of entertainment options. Besides television and computer gaming, internet has become an indispensable means of entertainment, communication and information. Children have to use internet not only for emails or instant messaging, but also for getting additional information for their project and reports. However, their use of internet may not be restricted to finding information. They may want to satisfy their curiosity and this may propel them to log on to sites that are unsuitable for them.
Parents cannot be around 24×7 to keep surveillance checks on the child’s internet usage. But what they can do is educate their children about internet etiquettes.
- Security and Privacy: As parents, you should be aware of the amount of internet bugs and viruses that are circulating these days. It is better to set up an antivirus on your home computer which will protect the computer from virus and spam. Teach your child the importance of having such software. Also, ask your child to take notice whenever the computer shows messages of virus.
- Block sites: To be on the safe side, you can block certain sites which are not necessary for your child’s project work. You can tell your child that you have blocked certain sites which are likely to get in virus and junk in the computer. Instruct your child to stay away from sites which are not pertaining to his studies or networking.
- Password: Explain to your child how important his email password is to him. Ask him not to share the password with anyone, not even his best friends. Incase he has already shared it with anyone; ask him to change the password immediately. This includes passwords for the computer, email account or any social networking sites. Though you need to monitor your child’s internet habits, it is not advisable to force your child to tell his password to you.
- Spam Mails and messages: Update your child about junk mails and messages on social networking sites. Tell your child never to click on any such sites which come in bulk. Show him examples of such mails so that he has an idea what junk mails are. Ask them to avoid forwards and tell them there is no reason to forward the emails to others.
- Play safe with friends: Always talk to your child about having online friends. Let them know that it is dangerous to reveal even the email address to unknown people. Sharing photos should be done with close friends. Ask them to not add people unless he knows who they are. Also, inform your child about the chat rooms where unknown people chat. Tell them not to enter such chat rooms and share numbers and addresses.
- Keep a watch but never intrude: If you are on your child’s Facebook friend list, there is no harm until you go on intruding for small reasons. You can keep a watch on you child’s friends and updates. But, never question each and every move unless you see something on your child’s account which is not appropriate.
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