But there are risks, especially for young people who are naturally curious and spend a large amount of time online. Risks can include exposure to inappropriate material, such as sexually explicit or violent web pages. Sex offenders can target social media sites in an effort to develop relationships with children. Social media sites can be used for cyberbullying. And young people may be too young to grasp the dangers of putting their personal information online.
It's important that you and your children know how to use the web safely. Here are some valuable tips to help keep your children safe:
- Put limits on the amount of time your kids spend online.
- Talk to your kids about the risks.
- Keep the computer that your children are using in a visible, central location in the home.
- Make sure you know what sites your children are visiting on the Internet, who they are communicating with online and what information they are receiving and sharing with others.
- Use web protection software that blocks access to undesirable categories of websites, such as those that portray violence or pornography.
- Post the Canadian Association of Internet Providers' Children's Online Pledge by your computer.
Here are some other helpful resources:
- www.thedoorthatsnotlocked.ca – website operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, offering tips for parents, teachers and everyone else
- www.prevnet.ca – Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network
- www.safekids.com – Digital Citizenship, Online Safety and Civility
- www.mediasmarts.ca – Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy