Monday, May 16, 2011

How Do You Keep Kids Safe Online?

With summer around the corner, parents like me are planning for ways to entertain the students in our lives. Unlike when I was young, kids love being on the computer and have computers or handheld devices literally at their fingertips. So how do you control which web sites they are visiting? Kids could be sitting in the same room as you but reading web sites that are too mature for them. Can people spend too much time on FaceBook?

Alex Williams wrote about this conundrum & more in the New York Times article "Quality Time Redefined". The articles states: "Nearly 60 percent of American families with children own two or more computers, and more than 60 percent of those have either a wired or wireless network to connect to the Internet, according to studies by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. A third of all Americans log on from home multiple times a day, nearly twice the number that did so in 2004."

So what's the effect on today's children and developing family relationshipos? There are a lot of opinions about whether technology and wireless strengthen or pull apart families. Williams' article covers both sides of this debate. I still think making rules to limit the time on TV and computers is important. Then having time to read stories aloud to each other, color or play games can be allowed so kids get personal interaction with their parents but also enjoy the time online, improving typing or interactive skills.

My concern still is around controlling the content of what's being viewed on your kids computer or mobile device. I've recently learned about a soon-to-launch tool that helps parents manage who's viewing which sites, create no online time, and much more. The price is super affordable too. Check back here for more information as it becomes available and I'll share my thoughts on it. Be sure to add your comments, too. Surely I'm not the only parent wondering how to manage my daughter and the virtual realities that loom.

Until the next nap time...

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