The Internet is a very important tool. These days, if you don’t know how to use the Internet, you’re severely hindered. But it is also a floodgate for many dangerous and harmful influences such as, but not limited to, pornography, virus infections, encounters with strangers and predators, bullying, and so much more.
As adults, we have ways of dealing with many of these things because we have the tools and the wisdom that comes with age. However, when it comes to Internet safety for kids, our children need our help.
Previously here on MakeUseOf, some writers have already written articles on some tools that are available (Visikid, Free Norton OnlineFamily, 2 Parental Control Add-ons for Firefox, and even Preschool Online Games). I, too, have written an article or two about child safety ().
In this article I would like to introduce a list of 5 sites who’s sole purpose is to keep kids safe while they’re online:
NetSmartz is a colorfully decorated site dedicated to educating others about Internet safety for kids. From the first glance of the front page, it is easy to tell that they offer material for several categories of people: Parents & guardians, educators, law enforcement, teens, and kids.
What exactly does NetSmartz offer that works to keep your kids safe? Let’s take a look:
Communication is an effective tool for parents and guardians when helping their children avoid the dangers that exist on the Internet. NetSmartz provides on- and offline learning activities for parents to facilitate discussions with their children and teens about Internet safety. Visit “Parent FAQ” to learn more about how and why parents should use NetSmartz.
This page is designed to show educators and administrators how to use NetSmartz interactive materials in their classrooms, accumulate more information about Internet safety and technology, and take steps to bring their classrooms into the 21st century.
Law-enforcement officers often receive invitations to conduct Internet safety presentations in schools and communities. NetSmartz offers a variety of resources to law enforcement to assist them in their efforts to keep their communities safer. Whether the presentation is 10 minutes long or 2 hours, for children or adults, NetSmartz resources can accommodate the circumstance.
Today’s teens have a knowledge of the Internet that often surpasses that of their parents. Because so many teens are Internet savvy, it is imperative that they also have an understanding of the dangers that exist online and how to deal with them. Watch teens share their own “Real-Life Stories” about issues affecting them on the Internet such as cyberbullying, online enticement, and giving out too much personal information.
There is a whole site dedicated to Kids called NetSmartzKids where you’ll find all sorts of games and activities specifically designed to reinforce Internet safety for kids.
Stop by and check them out! You may find material worth your while!
WiredSafety is another great site for helping to keep your kids safe online. Although the graphics aren’t as colorful or extensive, don’t let that fool you into thinking that they skimped on information! On top of cybercrime, cyberlaw, and an FAQ section.
Information on the following subjects is presented: cyberstalking and harassment, kids online, spyware and adware, email safety, chatting online, online gaming safety, downloading music safety, identity theft, and so much more!
They also have online AND printable materials for training and even offer speakers for events!
Check them out and see what else they have to offer.
WiredMoms is more of a community, a place for mothers to meet and learn from each other. From the horse’s mouth:
This site is your virtual back fence – a place where you can come and meet with other moms to share stories and learn different ways to navigate through the latest technologies that our kids seem to know intuitively.
The site has an interesting column entitled “Ask Eva” where readers can ask questions and have them answered on the site!
This day and age we need all the support we can get. If you can find other people in the same place (this case is specifically about keeping kids safe online) then you can begin to set up a support system and perhaps even find some friends along the way.
Microsoft – Protect your family – Beyond the basics
Microsoft has a good page on the subject of child safety online.
They have several tips on topics such as keeping passwords secret, family contracts or agreements, security for students, online predators and more!
There is also a “Microsoft family safety settings” page all about the settings you can manipulate on specific Microsoft systems (such as xBox, Zune and Windows) in order to keep your family safe. Check out the 10 Things to Teach Kids page to find ways of bringing up important safety topics with kids.
This site is apparently a blog about Internet child safety. A quick glance down the sidebar, however, shows that there is so much more offered! I visited a link about child safety on the Information Highway, I tried a tool by Google called “Child Safe Search”, I reviewed sample contracts for families to sign and follow, and I took the safety quiz. There is also a link to a funny video series called “The Webs.” Well worth a look see.
This list is by no means exhaustive. If you know of another site that would also help in the area of child safety, please tells us in the comments area!