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How Do I Protect My Daughter on the Internet?

Sometimes we wish could turn back time to the days when our homes were not connected to a constant stream of internet media that rushes through our lives. However, Internet World Stats estimates that 74% of North Americans are now on line. It’s quickly become a way of life for most of us and teaching our children to use it safely a necessary priority.

Luckily, many of the basic rules of safety apply to the internet as well. Remind your child not to give out any personal information without running it by you first. Teach your child that people aren’t always who they say they are on the internet. The internet is not used to meet new people but rather to keep in touch with those people you already know. Reinforce this by encouraging your child to be who they are and not to be anonymous. Information can’t be hidden on the internet. Once it’s out there, it can’t be taken back and it’s there forever.

Another basic rule is to teach your child to follow their instincts when it comes to on line interactions. If a situation doesn’t “feel right” then it probably isn’t. This is an area where you’ll want to have an ongoing conversation with your child about what sites they are visiting as well as what sites their friends are interested in. Let them know that they should alert you right away if they come across inappropriate content or if someone new is trying to befriend them. Keep your computer in a common area of your home to encourage openness and transparency.

Pay attention to the media and do your research to keep up with the latest internet trends and technology. You don’t have to be an expert but make an effort to keep pace with your child. Most likely they’ll appreciate your interest and may even be more likely to engage in conversation with you. Don’t be hesitant to check your browser’s history. They should know that you are keeping tabs on what sites they are visiting.

Technology today is evolving at a rapid pace and our kids are exposed to more and more forms of media. Set limits and be there to navigate them safely through it. But also cultivate a foundation of good communication and learning from pre-internet days including letter writing, family dinners and trips to libraries and museums.

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