Young Parents Team
1. Recognise potential risks
Although surfing the Internet allows your child to access vast amounts of useful information, there are two main risks to her safety. First, there are psychological risks that arise if your child visits a website with adult-orientated or sexually-explicit material. Second, there are physical risks if your child reveals personal details over the web.
2. Become “web-smart” yourself
If you do not understand the basics of computing and the principles of surfing the information highway, you face an uphill struggle when it comes to protecting your child during this activity. There is no way around this. You need to learn to use the Internet.
3. Explain your concerns
Point out to your child that you want her to enjoy and learn from using the Net, but that you also want her to be safe. Talk openly about material that could make her uncomfortable, or about how someone in a “chat room” (a forum for surfers to hold discussions online) can be pretending to be someone else.
4. Locate your computer right
You have more opportunity to supervise your child’s web-surfing activities when the family computer is placed in a communal area. Try to avoid your child having Internet access in his own room.
5. Reach a “safe-surfing” agreement
Your child should commit to observing a set of rules that you and he have discussed. These rules would include the amount of time he is allowed to surf each day, the types of websites he can visit, and he should inform you at once if he accesses any unsuitable material.