Safe Internet Practices
Parents want to provide their children with all the tools necessary for the future. The Internet is a powerful resource that plays an important role in the education of children. In 2002, it is estimated that 560 million people are online around the world. By 2004, it is projected that 945 million will have online access. In Canada, 99% of Canadian youth have used the Internet at some time, and 79% have access at home. About 48% use the Internet for one hour each day. *
While the Internet offers enormous positive advantages to empower individuals, there are also risks for those who do use it. Many individuals who communicate over the Internet with your children may be unknown to them; good judgement should be exercised when talking with strangers. Just as we protect our family from strangers who come into our home, it is important to protect them from people who can gain access to our home by way of the Internet.
What are Your Children Doing on the Internet?
Direct communication on the Internet can happen in several ways - through e-mail, chat rooms, and via instant messaging.
E-mail is the sending of electronic messages and files to individuals or groups who can then respond in their own time. It is one of the most popular methods of communicating because it is quick, efficient, and fun.
In chat rooms, users connect to a network of servers to chat/type messages to each other in real time. Full-time monitors - people who can screen inappropriate content - should always be available for children who are using chat rooms. However, when conversations are taken into private chat rooms, monitors no longer have access.
Instant messaging is a personal network or controlled list of people to talk to in real time. These lists let users know who else is online.
Some Ways You Can Practice Internet Safety
Technology can Help You
Become informed about the type of technology available to keep your family safe on the Internet. Technology can provide some assurances to protect your family, computers, and files from outsiders.
Filtering Software filters or blocks access to objectionable or unacceptable Web sites, chat rooms, e-mail, and instant messaging. Filters can be programmed by parents and/or software companies, and should be updated on a regular basis. However, filtering software is not foolproof.
Firewalls protect the contents on your computer against people who want to access it for personal information or to corrupt files. Firewalls may record traffic that has attempted to gain entry into computer files, and can often identify those trespassers.
Walled Gardens provide subscribers with access to selected Web sites that have been pre-approved for content. They offer the highest level of safety against the access of unsuitable materials.
Child Search Engines or Safe Portals are gateways or access points onto the Internet. They monitor linked Web sites.
Virus Protection Software detects and protects computer files from programs that can destroy or corrupt files. Viruses are most often downloaded through e-mail, Web sites, or from sharing diskettes. New viruses are always being created; therefore, virus protection software needs to be updated regularly.
The best way to know what your children are doing on the Internet is to get involved. Join a chat room, surf the Web, share an e-mail account with them, and access the new world for yourself.
Internet Safety Web Sites
Safe Passage:Teaching Kids to be Safe and Responsible Online
Chat room safety tips
Internet checklist for parents
Why parents need to know what their children are doing online
Canada's Children in a Wired World: The Parents' View . Prepared
for Industry Canada, Health Canada, and Human Resources Development
Canada by the Media Awareness Network, based on analysis by Environics
Research Group. This survey of over 1000 Canadian parents offers insight
into their opinions about their childern's Internet use, the benefits
and risks of the Internet, and discusses measures for addressing Internet
safety and monitoring online content.
Web Awareness for Parents - Managing the Internet at Home
Elmer the Safety Elephant discusses
travelling the information highway safely on this Canada Safety Council