Sunday, October 22, 2006

Achromic on the Run: I am talking to your kids and so is everyone else

Fellow blogger, Achromic on the Run, wrote about her concern with kids unsupervised on the internet. While the internet can be an educational tool and a source of entertainment for children, dangers also lurk on the internet in the form of child predators and child exploitation.
This is one area where I actually agree with Achromic. In order to keep kids safe, it takes parents being involved/interested in what their chld is doing on the computer/internet, IN ADDITION to electronic filters and monitering programs. I can't emphasize enough that computers and filters can't replace parental invovlment in keeping kids safe on the internet.  Also, the parent/guardians need to be understand why and become interested in keeping their kids safe. In this  And Namaan made a good point in the comments at Achromic's blog, many parents I agree are intimidated by the challenge of trying to supervise internet access or just don't know where to start. You see, this is an issue our library (where I work) has been tackling. Recently our library sponsored a seminar, for parents and children in the community on internet safety based on the NetSmartz website.  The seminar took a multi-pronged approach 1) We had a speaker from the state police, whom gave statistics on missing and endangered children and the NCMEC website (awareness). 2)A detective specializing in child exploitation and internet safety concerns, gave information on the risks and how to be safer on various websites (i.e Myspace, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.) And he emphasized the importance of parents being involved and aware of what thier children are doing on the computer. (education) 3)A technical support specialist gave information on how to check a child's internet activities (via standard Windows features): history folder, internet cookies, and temporary internet files. But he also noted that many teens are quite savvy at computers and may know how to erase their tracks. So he also discussed parental controls, and various filtering and monitering software(which can be password protected), parents may also wish to utilitize. I think there's no one easy answer as to how to go about monitering a child on the computer, but rather we need to take a multi-demential approach.
Here's a couple more websites recommended at our library:

Also you can find a list of kid friendly sites at "The Librarian's Guide to Great Websites for Kids"

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