3 Basic Ways To Help Keep Your Child Internet Safe

These days, as a parent, it’s often the case that your children know more about the internet and computers than you do. But it’s still your duty as a parent or guardian to protect their experiences online. While there is legislation in place that requires children to get a parents permission before giving out sensitive information like address and phone number, among other things. But that doesn’t always happen – so just as with pretty much everything else with your child – it doesn’t hurt to be proactive.

What follows is some basic advice for making sure that the internet experience of your younger child is safe and secure (and they don’t inadvertently end up charging your credit cards a ton of money).

Become Computer Literate Yourself

It is still your job as a parent to make sure that your child’s experience online is safe and secure – but how can you do that if your kid needs to show you how to change the internet settings on your computer? If you aren’t too tech-savvy, enroll in a class at the local community college or high school. You’re going to want to make sure you are able to know how to:

  • Set up a separate “profile” on your computer for each child, with only you as an administrator
  • Manage and block websites that your child has access to

While younger children generally will not try and find ways around your internet restrictions, as children get older, they might attempt to get beyond your restrictions if they find them unfair – for example, if you don’t allow them to set up any social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, myspace, etc) or use chatrooms. So be prepared to enforce and defend your decisions – which is where our second piece of advice comes in handy.

Educate Your Children About The Dangers

The internet is not a safe place – not intrinsically. Sensitive data is not always secure and once something is posted on the internet it’s always going to be there – even if the profile or image is deleted.

Some basic ground rules and dangers to warn your children about might include:

  • Never complete an online profile – don’t give out address, phone number, photos or even their real name.
  • Warn children of people who contact them and and interested in meeting face-to-face.
  • Make sure they know they can (and should) talk to you if anything happens on the internet that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Get Involved

You’re going to want to get involved with your child’s internet experience to make sure that things are safe. Especially with younger children, there are definitely things that may seem innocent to them that may not actually be. Some guidelines for getting involved in your child’s internet experience include:

  • Keeping the computer in a common area.
  • Share an email account with your child – or make sure that you have the password to their email account to monitor for unsolicited emails.
  • Bookmark your child’s favorite sites for easy access.
  • Monitor credit cards and phone bills for unfamiliar charges.
  • Disable “cookies” so that a child can’t inadvertently process a credit card charge because all the necessary data is already stored.

These are some of the most basic things you could (and should) be doing to keep your child and your child’s identity safe on the internet – this is the “don’t take candy from strangers” lesson for the digital era, and you want your children to understand it without having to learn it the hard way.

Alison Waters is a freelance writer who works with a company that offers IT project management and hardware support – so that if you’re a small business owner and your kid inadvertently pulls all the plugs, they could still recover your data. She hopes that no child is the target of an internet predator.

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Why Parents Need To Be Careful About Children Watching TV

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Most parents are acutely aware of the problems that can result from an over-reliance on the television. Young children can be greatly entertained and intellectually stimulated by the TV, of course, but there’s always a balancing act to be performed. Watching it for too long can harm a child’s development, so it’s always advisable to err on the side of caution.

Children’s TV schedules reveal a healthy smattering of fun-based informative shows, so the youngsters can watch, learn and develop at the same time. However, the networks also incorporate a huge number of cartoons into their listings as well, and this is where problems can occur, both in the short and long terms.

A few cartoons here and there aren’t a problem, of course, and will allow the children to enjoy a little escapism from time to time. However, some parents find it difficult to stop their children from watching TV for hours at a time, and that can lead to significant issues for kids of all ages.

Some of the cartoons are rather too violent for some parents’ liking, so some sort of embargo could be the answer. However, because of the sheer number of channels that are available these days, it’s often difficult to police exactly what the children may be watching. Of course, most cartoon shows are relatively short, so if a parent leaves the room for ten minutes or so it could be too late to make a difference.

What to watch? When to watch?

As children get older, there is often some friction among the family members in regard to what to watch on TV. In the evenings, when work and school commitments are all done for the day, the prospect of three or more people all arguing about viewing arrangements can lead to some serious disagreements.

One solution is to purchase a television for the children’s bedroom or bedrooms. Most youngsters eventually get a set for their rooms, of course, but there is plenty of debate about which is the right age for this to happen. As you might expect, there is no right or wrong answer, and every parent will have their own idea about when the right time would be.

One thing is certain – there is a time when it’s simply too early. Every parent should bear in mind what they were like at that age. If a child has a ready-made opportunity to sit at home and watch television all day long, the chances are that he or she will do just that. It’s far better to leave the ‘TV in the room scenario’ for a few years at least.

There is an enormous selection of TVs on the market these days, so it pays to do a little research before parting with any cash. One major consideration is the size of the screen, because if it’s too large it will dominate the room and could lead to eyesight problems in later life. Thankfully, the choice in stores and on the web is impressive, so the parent should always have a good look around before buying.

 

David Rice is a UK parent who knows how difficult it can be to raise children. He works in the Birmingham car hire business, where he specialises in finding the best car rental Birmingham has to offer.

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Cautious Kids

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Some of the most important lessons we can teach our young ones are safety guidelines and how to approach dangerous situations when unattended. When children approach the age of 3 years they become very impressionable and are suitable for learning some important life lessons. This is the idea time to start teaching them some basic safety rules.

Hazards at Home

Hazards involving intense heat can cause many injuries to children every year, this is often because they are unaware of all potential dangers in their own home. Hazards such as a boiling kettle, hot radiators, lit ovens and fireplaces can all cause injuries to unsuspecting children. Little ones are particularly explorative when unsupervised to be sure they have a safe area to play in when they are left with time to themselves. Putting safety measures in place around your home is a good way of reducing the risk of children getting injured, but teaching them to be cautious themselves is an invaluable lesson that could make a large difference when they stumble across a shiny hazard without parental supervision.

Travelling Alone and Dealing With Strangers

As children reach the age in which they go to play with friends and make short journeys to and from nearby houses and shops, it’s vital that they know the importance of travelling safely and not to engage in conversation with any unfamiliar faces. Ensure they have a safe route to all destinations and remain in public view the entire time. If possible they should travel with groups of their friends to ensure they are not alone while travelling home.

The potential danger involved with a child engaging strangers is something no parent wants to think about, but ensuring your child knows when someone is clearly bad news can make a huge difference in the way they approach strangers.

Environmental Hazards

As children grown older and are approaching high school, they are always more likely to travel further out to play with friends, ride bikes and play sports, but there are important lessons they must learn about environmental hazards. An unsupervised reservoir may seem like an idea place to play and swim to a group of children, if they are uneducated on this topic they may be unaware of generally how difficult it becomes to clamber back out again once wet.

Pylons may appear to be giant climbing frames with which to play and show off to friends, but children may not know about the tens of thousands of volts flowing through the pylons electrical system. It is vital that children learn lessons such as these at a young age; a sensible child is much more likely to stay safe when left alone and can have a positive impact on their more troublesome friends.

Written by Daniel Travis – Brown on behalf of Gray & Co Criminal Defence Solicitors , follow him on Twitter @DanTravisBrown

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Internet Safety for Parents: Three Top Tips

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Internet safety for parents is something you should not ignore and doesn’t have to be too much of a burden. If you follow our simple steps you can rest assured that your family’s use of the internet will be safe and secure and you can avoid at least one of the many headaches that come with parenting.

Supervision (tip one)

Whilst there are many tools out there to make internet supervision easier for you, children should be supervised 100% of the time when it comes to their digital world. With so many pitfalls around every corner; even the best parental control programs are not able to block every potential area of inquiry so it is worth having the added security of your direct supervision. This is the only real way of guaranteeing 100% internet safety but should be nevertheless done alongside these other options.

Parental control software (tip two)

Parental control software is an absolute wonder for anyone scared of letting their children view the internet for fear of what they might be exposed to. As we’ve mentioned, no software can block 100% of illicit material online but parental control software can block so much adult material from search engines and links that you should definitely invest in it as your first line of defence. Even the most cautious searchers can be exposed to things they’d much rather not uncover.

Talking to your child about the internet (tip three)

This is often the most overlooked but certainly one of the most important of all precautions parents should take. Whilst supervision and software will work, you have to bear in mind that at some stage these ‘parental controls’ will have to be removed. When that happens it is much better if your child is prepared adequately to deal with the internet in a mature and responsible way. A few key areas you should consider covering with your child are:

  • Social networks and social interaction – at a young age this is incredibly important due to the potential risks of online grooming, cyberbullying and sexual predation. As you’re children get older they need to be made aware of appropriate and inappropriate posting, comments and other things. In much the same way as we aim to foster our children’s emotional development, you also need to foster their internet development and having frank and open conversations about these subjects will help.
  • Adult sites and pornography – Once your children are older they are bound to encounter adult material online and to be perfectly honest you really can’t stop this happening unless you remove internet access from them entirely. A better way of discouraging them to engage with this material is to explain the hazards, moral and social problems associated with this kind of material and to honestly talk about the exploitative nature of the content. Many parents will not be comfortable with this but there are 3rd party sources online who can help so don’t be too worried.
  • Browsing safety and downloading – explaining the risks of downloading illegal material, such as games and films containing spy ware and viruses is the best way to ensure that this material is not viewed. However you will need to make your children aware of the alternatives such as iTunes and Spotify so that they are not tempted nonetheless.

These are undoubtedly the best internet safety tips that you should be focusing on. Using all three will help keep your children safe and also help them develop a strong awareness of these online dangers, making them better adapted for use in their adult lives.

 

Jane writes about internet safety for children in order to help raise awareness to parents about the potential dangers of the digital world.

 

 

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3 Leading Causes of Childhood Injuries [and Ways to Avoid Them]

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As a parent you want nothing more than to keep your child safe and secure. And knowing how to prevent the leading causes of child injuries—like falls, motor vehicle injury and poisonings—is a step toward this goal.

Here’s what you need to know.

Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19. Every day, about 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. That’s about 2.8 million children a year.

Thankfully, many falls can be prevented. Here are three simple, but life-saving tips:

  • Examine playground equipment. Is it properly designed? Properly maintained? Is there a soft landing surface?
  • Install safety guards on all above ground-level windows, stair gates and guard rails.
  • And make sure your child wears proper protective gear when playing active sports, such as a helmet when they are riding a bicycle.

Motor Vehicle Injuries

In the U.S., traffic accident injuries are the leading cause of death among children. In 2005 alone, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. Approximately 184,000 were injured.

What’s the cause of all these deaths and injuries? Intoxicated drivers, unrestrained children and improper use of car and boosters seats top the lists. Fortunately, many of these deaths can be prevented. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Place a child in an age- and size-appropriate car seat. This reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.
  • Place children under 8 years old and less than 4’9” in a booster seat.
  • Children under 12 years old should always ride in the back seat. Never place a child in front of an air bag.

Poisoning

A poison is any substance that can harm a child if too much is eaten, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin. This includes medications. Sadly, seventy-nine percent of all poison control center cases involve children. Sixty-four percent occur in children under age 5. It’s estimated 70 percent of accidental poisonings are preventable.

So want can you do to keep your child from unintentionally poisoning himself? Here are nine quick tips.

  • Know what products can be dangerous—and keep them out of reach of children.
  • Put the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone—including your cell phone.
  • Keep all drugs in medicine cabinets.
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children because they often copy adults.
  • Never call medicine “candy.”
  • Avoid putting your next dose on the counter where children can reach them.
  • Do not leave household, lawn or car products out after using them.
  • Install safety latches to all cabinets.
  • Identify poisonous plants in your house and yard and put them out of reach of children.

By following the simple tips above, you will dramatically reduce the chances that your child will be injured by a fall, motor vehicle accident or poisoning and help him or her develop into an healthy, active person.

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Top 10 Ways to Keep the Kids Safe at a Theme Park

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A family day out at a theme park is supposed to be fun, but with little ones it can be a bit daunting.

Stressing and panicking is no good for anyone, however, so here are top ten ways to eliminate the worry and keep your cherubs safe.

1. Dress in bright, anonymous clothing
One of the best ways to keep your children safe at a theme park is to dress them in brightly coloured clothing, so you can see them at all times. You really want them to be highly visible, so dig out the brightest attire you can find (if they will let you) and make a note of what they are wearing. Bright, block colours work best, as can be seen from afar, so don’t get carried away and keep it simple. If you have kids not yet old enough to care, you could even dress them all the same to eliminate any confusion.

2. Don’t Wear Slip On Shoes
On the morning of your trip, make sure you don’t put your kids in shoes which could easily fall off. On many attractions feet don’t have anything to rest on and are left to dangle down, so if shoes are not done up properly they could easily come off. Funky sandals and vibrant flip-flops may look cool, but if they end up hitting a passer-by in the head, you will definitely not be laughing.

3. Stranger Danger
Before setting off, remind your children of stranger danger and enforce that they must not talk to, or go off with anybody they don’t know. Keep younger children on a child leash and tell the older kids to always stay in your view. Reassure them that they can do all the fun things they want, but it must be at the pace of the family.

To protect your children further make sure you do not dress them in any clothes which display their name in an obvious way. Avoid personalised football strips, t-shirts, caps and even named key rings on bags. Children are more likely to follow someone who knows their name, so simply be aware.

4. Wear identity bands
When heading to a theme park it is very good idea to place a discreet identity band around your child’s wrist stating your telephone number. That way, if they do get lost hopefully someone will find them and they will be reunited with you in no time. Even older children can forget a telephone number in a moment of panic, so if they don’t want to wear a band, always give them a bit of paper with it on just in case.

5. Agree on a meeting place
Arriving at a theme park can be extremely exciting, however, it is very important to keep control and organise everyone as there is nothing worst than losing a member of your group. Decide upon a meeting point you must all return to if someone gets lost and make sure everyone knows where they are to come. It is advisable to select the biggest, brightest attraction in the park as this can often be seen from a great distance.

6. Never leave your child alone
Never, ever leave your children alone while you go on a ride. Always make sure there is a ride you can enjoy together or that there is a friend or relative to look after your little ones. It sounds so simple, but in the chaos of the day, communication may break down and your youngsters may end up alone. What’s more, make sure if you pop to the loo or go to buy food, that someone knows they are looking after the kids.

7. Chose appropriate rides
Theme parks usually have a whole range of rides and attractions to suit everyone from the bravest of thrill seekers to timid little ones. It is highly recommended you watch a ride before taking your children on it as it may not look scary at first but might do something unexpected. Many rides also have height restrictions, so make sure you read all the information boards or ask an attendant to save unnecessary queuing.

8. Use sun cream
Many theme park attractions are located outside and therefore it is extremely important to bring sun cream along with you — and use it. The weather may not look particularly great, but if you are outside you can still catch the sun, so be sure to protect yourself and your children from harmful rays. The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared and for you kids to get burnt.

9. Keep hydrated
A theme park adventure is thirsty work, so make sure you all stay hydrated. Bring bottles of water with you, buy some at the park’s shops, or stop for regular refreshments. Kids often get so excited they forget to eat or drink, so be forceful and make sure they keep take in regular liquid. Dehydration can be very serious but can also be easily avoided.

10. Bring plasters
Bringing a mini first aid kit along with you, is a really, really good idea. Day trips often avoid lots of walking and so plasters are usually essential. Shoes can rub, especially during hot days or if they get wet and it is a very good idea to be prepared. Children also love to run around and may fall and cut themselves, so having a pack of plaster will soon put a smile on their faces once again.

So, there you have it, day trips with the family really don’t have to be stressful. Simply be sensible, stay alert and enjoy a fun-filled adventure together.

 

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Promoting Family Togetherness With Communal Computing

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Families are often fractured these days, whether through work or social commitments, marriage breakdown, the social lives of children – the list goes on. However it is so important for families to do things together, even when they are amazingly busy. One simple thing to do is to bring establish a family computer for use in a communal family area like the living room – it allows the family to learn and interact together, and is one simple way to promote togetherness as a positive thing.

Every member of the family can get something out of it. Not only is the family spending more time together, but they are doing it in safety and together. The more a family does together, the closer they are, and that’s a simple fact. It is also beneficial for members of the family to see what the others are doing – sort of broadening their horizons and learning new skill sets and concepts at the same time.

For example, the kids could get a lot out of seeing Mom and Dad explore different investment options and comparing online penny stock brokers to try and get a better deal. Not only does it introduce important adult concepts such as responsible investing, but also comparison and analysis. Parents can also help the older kids out by helping to search for jobs for teenagers online in an effort to earn extra money and learn responsibilities and time management.

All in all, moving a computer to a central communal location is a good idea for the whole family. IT promotes togetherness and safety online, which is always the most important issue. It’s important to be a part of each other’s lives, and encouraging a communal focus on online activities is one of the best ways to achieve that – after all the online world is here to stay, it is us that has to adapt.

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