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Internet Safety

It is not too early to begin to discuss Internet Safety when working 
with young elementary students in the first few grades. Clearly, 
Teenagers are particularly at risk because they often go online unsupervised and are more likely than younger children to participate 
in online discussions regarding companionship and social relationships. Many Internet safety sites strongly suggest that parents of pre-teens or young teens consider using a filter or contacting their Internet provider about parental controls offered by provider. It is true that filters and controls do not necessarily protect kids from everything that can be harmful. 

As the following sites all unequivocally advise, parents still need to monitor their children. 

A guide created by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. Essentially the document underscores the need for parents to be familiar with and vigilant about their children's computer usage and encourages parents to teach children the basic safety rules for the Internet world. 
 
This guide is for parents who have begun to see that computers and online services will be or already are a part of their children's world at school, at community centers, at home or at the library-and who are looking for some guidelines and advice. Although the guide is a bit dated (May 1998--before the presence of MyPlace and YouTube on the internet) what is noteworthy is the description of what children of particular ages may be doing on their computers. 
 
If you are interested in what the language/ acronyms of the chat room or instant messaging mean (asl=Age/Sex/Location used to ask a chatterer their personal information) check this page. 
 
Another Guide for Parents which advises setting reasonable rules and guidance for computer use. The site argues that the Internet must be seen in perspective, that there is a vast array of valuable sites and services available online, but there are risks also. Monitoring children's usage of the computer seems to be the strongest advice offered by Internet safety sites. 

This is a Disney site so expect to see flashing screens and ads. Still, it is a useful site for computer novices who want to learn 
something about the Internet along with their kids FBI Site This site is mostly concerned with sexual predators using the Internet. It poses (and answers) the question: "What are some signs that your child might be at risk on-line?" While the site and its advice might be more appropriate for parents of kids in their teens rather than elementary school students, it is worthwhile familiarizing oneself with some possible danger signals in a computer user's behavior. 
 
This is a site that advertises itself as "the world's largest online safety and help group." It is a comprehensive site that not only gives advice about internet safety regarding instant messaging, cyberdating, cyberbullying, cell phone usage, and X-Box and Sony Playstation 2 Network. Site also has an "interactive forum" where you can read about other parents' experiences and concerns and pose questions or experiences of your own (after you register online). 

Although this a site focused on kids' health issues in general, there is some useful material about the Internet. 

This is a site for kids to test their awareness of proper Internet behavior and safety. It's a good start for parents who want to prompt a discussion about the Internet with young users.