Saturday, April 19, 2008

Safety Saturdays (#9) - Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online and Offline

Instant Messaging

People, who are online at the same time, can send and receive messages instantly through Instant Messaging (IM). It differs from email because once you send the message, it appears on the other person's screen, as long as they are online, even if they are doing something else on the computer. Some popular IM services include AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ. The IM software can be downloaded to your computer for free.
Most services suggest creating an online profile. It is important to set your child's profile to private and to block messages from people your child does not know in real life. IM services may include the following features:
  • Ability to share photos and videos
  • Free computer to computer calling, which is similar to talking on the phone but through your computer
  • Messaging through other devices, such as cellphones
What can you do?
  • Log conversations (This is can be done through the service or using monitoring software.)
  • Know who your child IMs
  • Make sure your child knows he/she can come to you to discuss anything he/she encounter online that bothers him/her

Tell your child to

  • Only communicate with people online that they know in real life
  • Beware of friend of a friend
  • Block people who send messages that are distressing or harassing
  • Keep personal information private
  • Never meet anyone in person first "met" online
Where can you get more information?
  • NetSmartz Workshop provides on- and offline learning activities for parents to facilitate discussions with their children and teens about Internet safety, including cyberbullying.
  • NetSmartz411 is parents' and guardians' premier, online resource for answering questions about Internet safety, computers, and the Web. You can search their library for information, such as "How can I block instant message?" or ask the experts a question.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is a particular topic that you would like to see covered in a future post. (If you are not familiar with blogging, you can still leave a comment below. Just click the anonymous button and type your comment in the text box provided.) Click on the "Safety Saturdays" label to the left to get more safety tips.


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Becoming Me said...

This is such good information. I've added you to my blog roll. If you could add my button to your side bar, that would be lovely, but not required. :-) Blessings to you.