Schools have a role to play when it comes to children and their online activities. Parents and schools working together can greatly improve the online safety of children by teaching them the ropes of internet safety. Teachers should be aware of the following information so that they can advise parents and children when the opportunity arises.
Favorite Online Activities
Ask kids what on-line activities are their most favorite. This will give you a heads up as to what aspects of internet safety you need to be most concerned with. Is it email, instant messaging, gaming, facebook or others that I haven’t mentioned?
Keep track of what websites your child or student is visiting by reviewing the history files. Open Internet Explorer and click on the toolbar at the top of the page for history files. In some editions of Internet Explorer simply click on Tools > Toolbars > History. To adjust the number of days that Internet Explorer keeps the history, go to the tools button and select Internet options. Then click on the Gen. tab. You will find the history section at the bottom. If you are unsure how to check the history on your computer, just use Google search. Check to see what browser you’re using and then search by typing in the ‘browser name’ and ‘how to check search history’.
Tell your children that you will monitor their instant messaging conversations, just as you would be aware of their live interaction with friends.
Here’s an example: Open live messenger and login as the user you want to track. Select Tools > Options > Messages, and see the message history setting in the bottom. Make sure the box is ticked next to “automatically keep the history of my conversations”. The location of the saved conversations is shown here. Open the folder where the conversations are saved to review what has been said.
Parents and teachers need to understand that games can be taken very seriously by children and they can become so much a part of the game that they almost lose touch with reality. Some kids even have trouble determining the difference between fantasy and reality. Gaming time should be kept under control as some children will become obsessed and play for hours and hours, sometimes it even taking a break.
Parents and schools can use filtering software to help ensure that kids are going to safe sites. Search ‘Internet filtering software’ on your browser to find out what options are available.
Children should not be searching the Internet without supervision. That means an Internet connected computer at home should be in a central place like the kitchen or family room where everyone goes. Students at school should also be supervised while on-line.
Parents and Schools CAN help to control what children are doing online.
Bruce Langford is a bullying prevention advocate located in Canada.