There is no question that computers have become an important part of daily life in the 21st century. More of us are using them more often. The good news is that computers provide more opportunities; the bad news is that they also present more dangers as well.
“Do You Know Where Your Kids Are Clicking?”, an article in the July, 2006, issue of PC Magazine, illustrates dangers faced by children, who are among the heaviest computer users. The article highlighted the increasing use of social networking sites such as MySpace.com, Facebook, and Xanga, and the hazards to children posed by such use, including potential contact with sexual predators lurking online, cyberbullying, identity theft and exposure to pornography.
Know what your children are doing online! Talk to your kids about their activities online, and any dangers they may be facing. Report inappropriate activity to your internet service providers. One course of action internet safety advisers do not recommend is prohibiting all internet activity, since that is seldom successful and can encourage children to keep their internet usage a secret. Instead, experts recommend allowing internet usage, but with boundaries, such as placing a computer in a location with very little privacy and visiting websites with children to encourage appropriate “surfing”. Computers have added another dimension to the challenges parents face, but informed parents can make internet access a safe and positive experience for their children.