A Note from Parry About Internet Safety
I am asked questions about kids online safety at least a hundred times a day. Is the Internet a dangerous place? Are there predators out there looking to set up a meeting with my child? How can we find good and reliable content online? How can I supervise my child's surfing when I can't even turn on the computer?
Question like these fill my inbox daily. (If you have a question of your own, email AskParry@Aftab.com) Here is the one simple answer:
The single greatest risk our children face in connection with the Internet is being denied access. We have solutions for every other risk.
That bears repeating, over and over, especially when we hear about Internet sexual predators, hate, sex and violence online. But our children need the Internet for their education, careers and their future.
Happily, most of the risks are easily confined. In each and every case when children encounter Internet sexual predators offline, they go willing to the meeting. They may think the person is a cute fourteen-year-old girl or boy, but they know they are meeting someone they don't know in real life. That means we can prevent 100% of these crimes. Merely teach our children not to meet Internet strangers offline. If they are set on meeting that person anyway, go with them. That way, if the person turns out to be a cute fourteen year old, you are the hero. And if they aren't, you're an even bigger hero.
Talk to your children about what they do online (and offline also), and let them know you are there to help if things go wrong. You will note that in our safe surfing agreement parents have to promise only one thing...not to overreact if their children come to them for help. Earn their trust, and be worthy of it. Register your children at WiredKids.org, our children's online safety site, and we will make sure they learn what they need to know about enjoying the Internet safely and privately. It's not about technology at all...it's about communication and good parenting.
Remember, we're all in this together!
Now, go have some fun - safely!