Today’s kids were born into the Internet generation. Beyond their personal computers, today’s teens also have a wide variety of other Internet-connected devices such as cell phones, gaming systems and tablets that allow them constant access to each other. With an estimated 95 percent of all teenagers ages 12 to 17 online at any given moment, the level of interaction through texting, gaming, photo and video sharing, and other social media has reached an all-time high.
Unfortunately, so have the number and intensity of negative interactions such as cyberbullying, exposure to inappropriate material, and contacts from online predators. Bright House Networks has long supported safe Internet surfing by offering parental controls with our high speed Internet service and by supporting educational programs such as Keeping Kids Safe, which teaches common-sense approaches that parents can use to prevent negative online experiences.
Bright House Networks Keeping Kids Safe spokesperson Retro Bill (www.retrobill.com) talks to thousands of school students and Boys & Girls Clubs members each year to help get the word out on Internet safety. Through Retro Bill’s presentations, Bright House Networks is able to spread the word to kids that Internet safety is something you have to be aware of every moment you are online.
Here are some top Internet safety tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s www.netsmartz.org site, one of many excellent resources available to parents trying to keep up in today’s nonstop Internet-connected world. As the “Basic Internet Safety” Guide points out, these tips apply “no matter how your children use the Internet.”
- Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
- Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
- Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.
- Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
- Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.
- Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.
Has your child ever asked you for help after a scary online incident? Are you concerned about your kids’ Internet use?
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