The World Wide Web can be a wonderful tool to access endless information or to email friends and family across the world.
However, there are some individuals who use the Internet as a tool to cause harm and to commit criminal acts. It is important for users to protect themselves by learning the possible dangers.
Protecting Yourself and Your Children
• Learn about computers. Take a computer or Internet course and then discuss with your children.
• Talk to your children about their use of the computer and discuss any possible dangers they may encounter online. If necessary, create a list of rules they must follow when on the Internet.
• Learn how to access the ISP (Internet Service Provider) home page to determine the number of computer hours used each month. Accounts can be set up so each individual has their own access code and separate records. Examples of ISP are MTS, Shaw and AOL.
• Keep the computer in a common area of your home, so that children’s activities can be easily monitored.
• Limit time allotted on the computer. Watch to see if your child is withdrawing from friends and family. Excessive computer usage may indicate a problem.
• Watch for computer files ending with the letters: .GIF, .JPG, .MPG, .AVI, .MOV, .BMP, .TIF, .PCX, DL or GL as these contain photographs or movie images which could contain pornography or violence.
• Block access to chat rooms or accompany your child when visiting a chat room. You can also consider routing your child’s email into your own email account first in order to screen any unwanted email messages.
• Obtain a software-filtering package that can block access to Internet sites or email messages that you deem inappropriate for your children. This software can also log all of your child’s activity on the Internet so you can review it later. Remember, this software is not foolproof and cannot take the place of parental involvement or supervision. It can only assist you.
• Call your Internet Service Provider and find out if you have filtered or unfiltered feed. The filtered feed will not allow access to the majority of sex-related Usenet Groups. However, as a parent you should be aware that this is not foolproof, and there are other ways for your child to access this information.