Your Kids and Internet Safety: Common Sense Media0
When the subject of Internet safety for children is brought up, parents look you in the eye and nod their heads. Yes, absolutely. They want their children to be safe online and they are afraid of the dangers that lurk in Cyber Space for their children. Their faces also betray that they are at a total and utter loss about how to do it.
Technology changes quickly and, at least in my case, is a “language” that my children speak much more fluently than I. With so many ways to get online these days, it is naïve to think that a parent can limit or truly control access. Most children are doing schoolwork and going to websites for homework assignments on computers these days. One day or another, every child is going to go– in fact, needs to go– online. Teaching children to be safe in the cyber-world is as fundamental today as teaching children how to cross the street safely– something every child needs to learn and is going to have to do. No way around it.
A couple of years ago, my daughters’ school hosted Common Sense Media, an organization whose mission is “to improve the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.” It felt good to attend the event and take some real, measurable steps towards ensuring that my children would be safe online. Some of the facts I learned terrified me. The majority of American kids are spending more time engaged with technology than I realized and it is more deeply imbedded in their lives than I ever imagined. Did you know, for example, that many teens sleep with their phones in their beds?
I encourage you to go to Common Sense Media at www.commonsensemedia.org. On the website, you will find advice for parents of children of all ages. It is a resource for a broad range of technology and media questions: “Is this movie appropriate for my child?” What is this new video game I am hearing about?” and so much more. I include a link below for Internet safety tips for elementary school kids. Most importantly, I applaud parents who take the time to learn how to keep their kids safe and responsible online. Keeping children safe in cyber space is not an easy job and will require consistency and work, but it is so important.
[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]