How Does Internet Safety for Children Differ from that for Teens?

by Barbara J. Feldman on May 3, 2007

Internet users are getting younger and younger. There was a day when students didn’t even learn to type until the 8th grade. Now pre-school children are keyboarding and using the Internet. Because there are dangers associated with the Internet, Internet safety has become a huge issue for parents.

As kids develop, they engage in different activities and they play with different toys. The same is true with the Internet. Little kids, the ones under six are in a developmental stage where they want to see things and make things happen. For these little kids, they will probably only use the computer to play games.

Fisher Price has a website full of online games for children. These games include Peek-A-Boo and ABC games. With children of this age, you don’t need to worry much about Internet safety. The computer will likely be something that you use together.

As the child gets older, they start to explore the world in a different way and they will start to move around the Internet on their own. Do your homework, prepare for them to start exploring on their own by setting up a safe environment for them to explore. You can teach them to go to “favorites” when they want to look things up. In favorites, you can save links to the great web sites where you want them to go. You can find websites by all any of the kid’s magazines (like Ranger Rick or National Geographic for Kids). There are also web sites set up by organizations like the Librarian Association.

Kids can be taught to use search engines while staying in a safe place. There are “AskJeeves” types of sites that only link to kid’s site. One is called, “Ask Dr. Universe”. With kids the main safety concern is where they go and what they might see if they start “surfing” around. You can control this by giving them good places to go. As the kids get to be preteens and teens, Internet safety becomes more serious. Teenage kids like to go where they want. Kids of this age are trying to become separate from their parents and they need privacy. However, at this age privacy should be earned before it is granted. Teenagers need to show that they are responsible with what they download and what they submit. They should be educated about viruses and spyware and they should demonstrate that they know how to protect your identity and your computer.

Do not allow teenagers to “file share”. What file sharing does is allow other people access to the content of your computer. It is intentionally putting spyware on your computer.

More important, teenagers are using computers to meet people. Unfortunately, there are predators lurking on the Internet trying to victimize children. Teenagers need to be monitored for the things they post. If they post a picture of themselves and say what school they go to someone could find them. A predator could see an innocent picture of a young girl and start to obsess. Knowing where to find her could only lead to disaster. It’s sad but true, and children need to be protected against these kinds of sick-os.

Teenagers will want MySpace accounts and blogs. It is important that parents monitor these sites. These are the places that kids socialize. These are also the places where the perverts and the bad guys hang out. It is important that the kids have a set of rules to protect them when using the Internet.

Some good rules for Internet use are:
1. No unauthorized down or uploads
2. No chatting in private chatrooms
3. No personal information goes on line
4. Absolutely no meeting “friends” from the Internet

More tips like this one in Kids,Parents,Teens



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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How Does Internet Safety for Children Differ from that for Teens?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 3 May. 2007. Web. 28 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1033/how-does-internet-safety-for-children-differ-from-that-for-teens/ >.