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Guidelines: How to Protect Your Children Online

Typically we keep reading online and offline on a daily basis. This week we started reading What Every 21st-Century Parent Needs to Know by Debra W. Haffner. While she isn't afraid to tackle the big questions, including drinking, drugs and teen sex, Debra also presents and backs all her statements on research and statistics.

We particularly like that way the author debunks the myths and validates the concerns many people, including parents and teachers, have about growing up children safe and healthy. We will continue to read this book and in a future post we will cover another topic of our interest. Today, we want to remind you of safety while navigating the electronic world. From chapter 9 in the referred book:

    - Do not forget that internet is a public place. Do not post any - thing you don't want the world to know.
    - Do not make it easy for a stranger to find you
    - People are not always who they say they are. Be careful about adding strangers to your 'friends' list.
    - Report harassment, hate speech, and inappropriate content.
    - Do not mislead people into thinking you are older or younger

These rules are posted on MySpace for its younger users. Other topics a parent should consider are (et. al.):

    - Be sure your children agree never to meet someone offline whom they have met online.
    - Be sure that no identifying details are included: no school names, sport teams' names, the town they live in, or where they hang out.
    - Look at the photos to see if they inadvertently give clues to personal information.
    - Talk to them about their screen names. They should not be too sexualized (nastygirl) or give away too much information (sweetonnet on 15).
    - Ask your tweens to think about the messages they are posting and what message they might be giving someone who isn't their friend. I am lonely, I hate life, and I love playing doctor are the types of messages that offenders are looking for in deciding whom to groom for a relationship

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  1. Thanks for the lovely review.

    Readers can read more excerpts at www.21stcenturyparent.com or follow me on Twitter as RevDebra


    Debra W. Haffner

  2. Thanks for following on your book promotion. We will include a link to your website in our second post that we are prepared to post after a few days!

  3. This is a great post! I think it's always tricky when it comes to protecting kids from the internet. Honestly, they almost always find the info either way, but these tips will at least help in my household.