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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 4, 2007

How to keep Net dangers at bay

By Lester Higa

The Internet provides children easy access to a wide range of information, entertainment and communication networks both in school and at home.

While much of the information online is accurate and can be used for educational purposes, the Internet also contains Web sites that include inaccurate information and content that is inappropriate for children to view.

Here are a few tips to take into consideration that will help protect your children as they surf the Web:

  • Discuss appropriate online conduct. Make sure that your child knows you will be monitoring his Web use and that viewing inappropriate content and making online purchases without your permission, for example, will not be tolerated. Clearly lay out the consequences for any misconduct.

  • Make sure your child knows to never give out personal information online. Just as you teach your children not to talk to strangers, they should also know that it is not acceptable to give out personal information name, phone number, address, school, personal photos, credit card information, among other things. They should also understand that it is potentially dangerous to agree to meet someone in person that they've met online.

  • Monitor the information that your child communicates online. Whether your child is disclosing personal information during a conversation on an online chat service or posting it to the Web through a networking site such as MySpace or Facebook, you should read through and filter what is and is not appropriate to share.

    Just as you would get to know your child's friends and classmates, it is equally important to get to know the people he interacts with online.

  • Check with your Internet service provider to see if online filtering or monitoring services are available. When possible, set Internet accounts in your name so you can monitor your child's use and have control over passwords and other parental controls.

    As the Web constantly changes, it is important to stay on top of what is available online and remain vigilant in your efforts to keep your child safe.

    Lester Higa is a McKinley High School teacher and member of the Hawai'i State Teachers Association.