Teaching your kids about the Internet
The Internet is something that is very powerful. It provides a whole lot of information without much of the hassle associated with looking for them in an encyclopedia. Search engines have made looking for particular data an ease - it is literally typing a few words and clicking. The Internet provides news in real time, even if the events going on are a few thousand miles away from where you are.
That being said, the Internet can also be dangerous. It is used to mass produce viruses and spread them around the whole world, able to affect any nation, especially those lacking in computer security. It can be used to hack into bank accounts and robbing money away from an unsuspecting owner. It can be used for terrorist functions. It is filled with dirty material - pornography, lewd acts, cursing, and crime.
The Internet is a place that you don't want your kids to go snooping around in, due to the dangers associated with it. This is why it is very important for parents to teach their kids about the wonders and dangers of the Internet, and not just one side only. Show them the whole thing; the big picture. A child who views something not suitable for him may have his life changed forever, something that even parents can't do anything about.
By teaching your kids properly, you are ensuring not only their safety, but the whole family's safety as well. Any information a child shares over the Internet to someone who is a total stranger can endanger the whole family. Teach your kids never to share information, even if it is just a location (e.g. Los Angeles), a phone number, or even a name. Tell them that it is for the protection of the family.
Tell your kids never to give out passwords, even if they are shared with close friends. Passwords make it much easier for perpetrators to get what they want without the risk of getting caught and you never know, a close friend might have a slip of the tongue and give out the child's password to a total stranger. By then, if you are unsuspecting, the perpetrator may have gotten away with what he wanted already.
Teach your kids never to tolerate nor entertain cursing and other foul, rude language over the Internet. It is very easy to respond in a negative way to a person over the Internet since you can't be seen and you can be anywhere in the world. However, you might not know if the person the child curses is a computer expert or not, which could endanger your computer and data.
Allow your kids to have fun while at the same time restricting them. Giving them total freedom on the Internet will only lead to danger, as they are mostly innocent and unsuspecting of those who want to prey on children. Place security measures on the Internet browser. Place the computer in the family room instead of the child's room so that you can check in on the child from time to time, which will be to his protection.
Tell your kids never to accept any file that is sent over the Internet without consulting you first. This file can be anything - a virus, a nude photo, a gross photo, a prank program, etc. It is better to exercise caution and prevent a negative occurrence rather than try to control any damage done after the file is executed.
Tell your kids to exercise caution in chat rooms and social networking sites. Tell them that there are perpetrators out there that lurk and wait for the unsuspecting child to come and befriend them. These people ought to be treated as strangers. It would also be better if the child would tell the parents every time he meets a new 'friend'.
The Internet is very dangerous. A child can't hope to combat viruses, spyware, and lewd material on his own. It is far better to prevent that from ever occurring, and often times, teaching a child is the best way to go. Tell them of the rules, decorum, and other necessities in using the Internet. More importantly, tell them to have fun without the risk of exposing themselves.