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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Important Internet Safety Tips for Kids - Part I

By Andrew Loh

The invention of personal computers and internet, are perhaps the most significant inventions of the 20th century. These two important inventions have been the most potent tools of communication, those assist people across the world, to link together to exchange and share information. They also provide an easy access to humungous volumes of information located at different parts of the world. With all those innumerable advantages and benefits, internet could also be a seedy and potentially dangerous place for people, especially small and young children.

Internet could be a great place for children. They can use internet to browse for useful information, research web sites for preparing school reports, communicate with teachers and friends, as well as play interactive games. In fact, children can get an access to a huge volume of data, just by typing few letters on the keyboard. Of late, parents introduce their children to internet at an early age, either to show online learning resources or to play small interactive games like Disney or Dora. When the children are very young, parents will have complete control over what their children get to see on the screen. However, as their children become older, parent may gradually relinquish the extent of control. Parents may exercise some form of control over their children's usage of internet, however, it may not enough to control their children misusing the internet facility.

Unlimited and uncontrolled access to internet can pose extreme danger to your children. Take the following example. A ten year child may want to research information for a topic with a title - "Lego". Children are always very poor in typing. Just with one misspelled keystroke, they can enter the word, "Legs", instead of "Lego". This misspelled word can be very dangerous, because with that word, children may navigate to myriad kinds of web sites that focus on "Legs". In fact, many of these sites contain sleazy and pornographic textual and visual materials. This is the reason, why it is critical for every parent to control what their children see, listen or hear on their computers.

Today is the age of communication, when everyone who is computer savvy subscribes to one or the other social networking websites (facebook, twitter...etc) or chat messengers. While these web portals are quite useful for people to exchange ideas and dialogues, they could be potential sources of cheating and cyber-bullying by unscrupulous people. You might have heard of many stories about young children who fell into trap set by faceless criminals, who constantly roam around social networking and chat portals.

Internet has both positive and negative aspects attached to it. Careful usage of internet is always beneficial to the user. However, you cannot expect such things from young children, as their mind is weak, vulnerable and subject to constant online threats. Today's children are internet savvy and online smart, though their usage pattern is still immature. Parents will need to be aware of many things, where their children could land themselves into situations of dangers. Following are some of the areas or activities, where your children could get into dangerous situations:

Online friendship: Making a new friend is a very easy activity for children. In fact, children of varying ages are known to crowd social networking and chatting sites to make new friends. However, the so called new friends may not be good friends to them; they could be people with presumed identities or online aliases.

Sharing information and personal details: Children are known to share their personal details like home addresses, e mail IDs and phone numbers. They may even share their videos and photos with their net friends. Online profiles could be misleading, because online predators are known to search constantly for online profiles of potentially weak and gullible children.

Adult and pornographic web sites: Bad and inferior online content is very common in the world of internet. There are hundreds of thousands of sexual and adult content oriented web sites that could spoil the young minds of children. Children can easily navigate to such web sites.

Online shopping: Excessive internet usage may make children materialistic. Children are known to visit e commerce sites that sell toys and other materials online. Children are naturally attracted to such sites, because they can easily touch and grasp their young minds.

The immense challenges displayed by internet could be both positive and negative. Responsible internet usage is always beneficial to your children. On the other hand, irresponsible and careless internet use can lead to undesirable situations that could even pose great danger. Learning how to use the internet facility depends largely on to what degree or extent you train your children in responsible internet surfing. Parents have a big responsibility on their shoulders, especially in how they train their children in the art of responsible internet usage. Continue to read Important Internet Safety Tips for Kids - Part II.


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