Friday, October 31, 2014 • 12:31
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Keeping our kids safe online



Kim_Harris
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Kim Harris
November 21, 2013
Let's face it, our kids are getting smarter. As technology advances so does a child's ability to understand it and as our technology and their computer skills advance so do problems such as readily available inappropriate imagery and Internet crimes against children.

A good example of this occurred during last week's school board meeting when a parent, whose child was issued an iPad by the district, addressed the board stating that her child had found a way around the installed security programs to keep children from viewing inappropriate websites. Her comments came complete with enlarged photos that were very risqué according to the Valley Roadrunner reporter in attendance.

We at the Roadrunner applaud this mother for being in tune to her child's activities while surfing the web. Her diligence has protected her child from something she, and many other mothers, don't want their children exposed too.

After hearing this story, it occurred to me that as we approach Thanksgiving and winter breaks our children will be home during the day while parents are at work, giving them ample time to be online visiting whatever websites they see fit to explore. So we encourage all the moms and dads out there to be aware of your child's Internet activities.

Some tips to help keep your children safe while accessing the Internet according to www.kidshealth.org include spending time online together to teach kids appropriate online behavior, bookmarking kids' favorite websites for easy access, keeping the computer in a common area, not individual bedrooms, forbidding children to enter private chat rooms and blocking objectionable content.

Basic Internet safety rules include teaching children to never share personal photographs with someone they don't know, never to reveal personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, school names or locations and never agreeing to meet someone in person. Children should also know to never respond to a threatening email or message and that they should always tell a parent about any communication or conversation that was scary. If your child has a new "friend" that he or she has met online, insist on being introduced online to that friend.

If your child comes to you with a concern about Internet exchanges, take them seriously. Forward all copies of obscene or threatening messagesto your Internet service provider. If your child has received child pornography via the Internet, call the San Diego Sheriff Office or the FBI and file a report immediately.

For more information on how to keep your kids safe on the Internet visit: www.kidshealth.org and www.commonsensemedia.org.

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