Technology has changed the way we learn and access information. With the click of a mouse we can tap in to news stories from around the world and see minute to minute news stories as they happen. The Internet has made all of this possible and more. The Internet has many positive features, but along with these many positive’s there are of course negatives. A new kind of predator has emerged online and is preying on children. Parents and children should be aware of the dangers online and know how to protect themselves from these Internet predators. There are Internet sites that can help educate and inform parents and children about the dangers online, here are five of the best Internet safety sites along with a brief description:
1.GetNetWise. GetNetWise is brought to you by Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations to help ensure that families have a safe online experience. This site offers a standard safety guide and parental tools, also a guide on how and where to report any trouble encountered on the Internet.
2.I-Safe. I-safe was founded in 1998 and is endorsed by the U.S. Congress. This site is dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. This site incorporates classroom curriculum with community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, and law enforcement to make the Internet a safer place. Also providing Internet safety information to students, parents, and everyone in the community in a variety of ways.
3.NetSmartz. NetSmartz is an interactive, educational safety resource from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This site features interactive games and activities that use the latest web technologies to entertain while they educate. The goal of this site is to extend safety awareness to prevent victimization of children and to increase self confidence whenever children go online.
4.CyberSmart. CyberSmart is an online site dedicated to promoting information and skills associated with teaching, learning, and living in a connected world. Originally co-published with Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, this site is currently used by educators in all 50 states, Canada, and Australia. The curriculum is designed for teachers and parents and is presented in an easy to use format. Areas covered are appropriate use of the Internet, property rights, and ethics.
5.SafeSurf. SafeSurf is a voluntary rating system designed to protect children, as well as the first amendment rights of their parents. It was developed with input from thousands of parents and net citizens, worldwide. The goal of this site is to objectively rate content and how that content is presented with the purpose of protecting children online.
These are just a few of the many Internet safety sites that are available. Parents who are concerned about their younger children inadvertently viewing sexually explicit material on the Internet may want to turn on “filtering” in the online search engine that is used by their family. This will minimize the chances of an innocent search inadvertently returning something sexually explicit. This is really meant for parents of young children under age 10. Older children who may be actively looking for sexually explicit material online can easily bypass the search engine filtering. To keep teens from viewing sexually explicit material a more comprehensive locked-down filtering tool will need to be implemented.
Keeping children safe on the Internet is everyone’s job. Parents need to stay in close contact with their children as they explore the Internet, discussing with them some of the dangers online. Teachers need to help students use the Internet appropriately and safely, teaching students to make good choices while on the Internet. Community groups, including libraries, and after-school programs should help educate the public about safe online practices.