Some helpful ideas regarding computers in your home.
- Place home computers in a central area of the house, not a child’s bedroom or secluded area. Make surfing the Internet a family experience.
- Talk with your children about what they can and cannot do online, while trying to understand their needs, interests and curiosity.
- Know your child's password and screen names; they may have more than one.
- Set reasonable time limits on computer use, and ensure that your children adhere to the limitations.
- Parents (not children) should always establish and maintain an Internet service provider account (AOL, earthlink, MSN, ptd, alltel, windstream, etc.), and the account should always be in a parent’s name (not a child’s). This ensures that a parent can legally maintain control of the account’s use and can access records if necessary. If an account is set up in a child's name, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain account information without the child's permission.
- You should also realize that children might be accessing the Internet from outside the home, such as friends’ homes, work, libraries and school.
- Be open with your children and encourage them to come to you if they encounter a problem online.
- Explore filtering and blocking software, which is used to sort information on the Internet and classify it according to content. A major drawback is that some filtering may block innocent sites, while many "negative" sites still get past the filters. Though these programs can be great assets, parents still need to maintain open communication with their children to inform and protect them.