Nursery Furniture – Keep Kids Safe Online During Summer Vacation

During vacation, children usually stay up late, sleep in late and play outside a whole lot. Today’s children also spend more time online during the summer, playing video games, surfing the web, and meeting friends in chat rooms and social networking websites. Even though these online activities can give hours of entertainment and learning, they can also expose kids to inappropriate content or people who may want to take advantage of them.

Parents don’t have to unplug the computer or be Internet gurus to help protect their kids online. “Even if parents cannot tell a blog from a wiki, new technology safeguards and online resources might help them take more control of their children’s Internet use and develop a safer online experience for the entire family,” said Kristin Johnsen, senior director for security outreach at Microsoft Corp., which offers dozens of pages of online safety guidance and resources online for no charge, at http://www.microsoft.com/athome.

Additionally, family safety settings in many popular products-such as Xbox 360, Windows Live and MSN Premium–provide security tools to help block objectionable Web sites, control who corresponds with kids, and guard against online attacks.

Triva and Toby Hazelton looked to these online resources and the advice of friends to create strict Internet rules for their kids. Courtney, 12 and Taylor, 10 can send and receive e-mail and instant messages but only with friends whom the Hazeltons know. They can make use of the internet, but only pre-approved sites–and only when Dad and mom are home.

“We also talk openly and often with our kids about the threats on the web,” Triva stated. “We want our children to think independently and know we won’t at all times be able to control their Internet use, so we want them to feel comfortable informing us if something online makes them uncomfortable.”

Here are some other tips from Microsoft to consider:

 Establish distinct rules for Internet usage. Prepare kids for the online world just like you would for the real world. Determine guidelines and know who they are interacting with and what they’re seeing online.

 Keep personal information private. Do not share personal information about yourself online -for instance your name, address, age or gender–with people you do not know in the real world.

 Take into account PC proximity. It might make sense to place the family’s computer in a common room, specifically for PCs that don’t have family safety software installed. Parents are able to provide supervision and guidelines more easily this way.

 Keep communication open between parents and kids. When kids see something on the internet that makes them feel not comfortable, ensure them they can speak to a parent or other trusted adult about it without fear of getting their computer privileges removed.

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