Internet Safety

The Internet is quite a marvelous thing but it's one that has many drawbacks and an evil side to it. If you're not careful, you or your family, especially your children, could find themselves in some very dangerous situations online. Every day you hear horror stories of child abductions that started off through innocent chat room flirtations, online banking users having their identity stolen by computer hackers or people losing money because they were duped through an e-mail scam.

Stuff like that happens all the time and if you don't want that happening to you or your family while browsing the web from your home you need to make sure that you know a thing or two about Internet safety. The first thing you should do if you have children that browse the web is to make sure you have a website blocker add-on installed on your browser that will block them from visiting certain websites that are not appropriate for children. It's one thing for them to visit a web design site on their own but it's another to visit a website promoting UFC fights.

You might also want to consider installing programs that monitor your children's Internet activity so you can see what they are doing online and with whom. Another good tip is to have your children create a screen name so that they avoid their real name ever being used online. You don't want to suddenly get spammed with e-mails from companies trying to sell your son or daughter their products because they actually signed up for their company's email when they thought they were actually signing up for a Barbie newsletter.

Other ways you can protect your children when they are online is by learning how to be computer literate yourself and block any objectionable material your children might come into contact with, keep the family computer in a common area of the home so that you can visibly monitor what your kids are doing with the computer, create a shared email so you can intercept any suspicious emails, bookmark websites your children visit frequently for easy access, never let your children enter private chat rooms, and always be checking the status of your credit cards, phone bills and online banking account to make sure you don't see some random charge from a company that you know you never made.

If your children ever receive obscene or threatening messages online it's best to forward them to your Internet service provider so they can deal with them in the appropriate manner. We also know that your children have access to the Internet outside of the home, with schools leading the way. Contact your son or daughter's school to ask about their online protection to make sure that it's up to par.

That should give you a good head start on protecting your children from the dangers of the Internet and you can now go back to being worried about non-threatening spam messages from Nigerian princes asking for donations or web developer companies trying to get your business.

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