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Monday, February 25, 2013

Keeping children safe on the Internet:

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Keeping children safe on the Internet

The Children’s Workshop provides tips for parents

Updated: Monday, 25 Feb 2013, 12:25 PM EST
Published : Monday, 25 Feb 2013, 12:25 PM EST
WPRI) -- Children are spending more time on the computer, and it's important to teach them the benefits and the risks of the Internet.
Parenting experts at the Children's Workshop gave us some tips to keep your kids safe while using the computer. With the Internet, children have access to unlimited information in the comfort of their home. The web is a resource children need for homework and there are also kid-friendly games online. There are risks on the Internet, but keeping an open line of communication with your child is the best way to stay safe.
"The first couple of times that they're surfing the web, surf it with them," said Nicole Chiello. "They will really get to know you on the computer with them and they really get to see that they will be able to have you with them to ask any sort of questions they might have."
Establishing family rules when it comes to the computer is also a good idea. Limit the time your child is allowed on the computer daily. As your child gets older, they can stay on longer, but the time limit and family rule still exist.
"It's also super important to keep the computer in a central location," said Nicole Chiello. "That way when they're spending time on the computer, you're still around and you're still kind of checking up on them."
Make sure you update the privacy settings on your browser and monitor the web browser's history. Never hesitate to ask your child what they are doing or who they are talking to. If you find suspicious activity on the history, bring it up. There needs to be limits when your child is on the Internet. 
Educate yourself about the Internet so you can educate your child about the dangers of giving out personal information online. If a website does not allow people under a certain age, then parents should enforce that. Social media websites have those rules for a reason.
The Children's Workshop recommends different websites that can help children understand the dangers of the Internet:
Common Sense Media is a website by kids for kids about staying safe online. Children are explaining how to say safe in a language your child will understand.
Common Sense also has a section for parents that is dedicated to providing trustworthy information to families. You can trust the website to help you are your family understand internet safety.
These online safety cards are a great way to jump-start the conversation about internet safety. They can be included when a child is getting a new device and it will make the conversation about internet safety that much easier.
Websites such as Club Penguin , allow children to play, chat, and explore in a trust-worthy and kid-friendly environment.
Copyright WPRI 12

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