The Internet can be a helpful tool for your family. You can keep in touch with relatives and send pictures of your children to their grandparents. You can check the weather, movie times and even balance your checkbook. Your children can gather research for school papers, utilize homework helps, play educational games and communicate with friends.
However, the Internet also poses many dangers. Your children might encounter online pornography or even pedophiles. They might stumble on a site that teaches them to make bombs or use weapons. Just like anything else in media, the good comes with the bad.
In the book, Learn to Discern, Bob DeMoss addresses some practical measures that parents can take to help protect their children.
First, be sure to keep all computers with Internet access in a common area of your house, not in your children's bedrooms.
Parents need to be able to supervise what their children are doing online.
Second, set clear guidelines on the amount of time your children are allowed to spend online.
Parents may consider extending the time if the children are researching material for a school project. However, for entertainment purposes, be clear on how much time you will permit.
Be honest with your children about the dangers of the Internet.
Help them understand that some people they may meet online are not who they claim to be. Instead of a young teenager, they may actually be an adult man. Also, because most of our communication in person comes from non-verbal clues, communicating online makes it more difficult to determine if someone is being sincere or truthful.
Make use of technology.
Many of the companies that provide Internet service offer free parental controls that allow parents to block certain types of websites or e-mails from their computer. And there are software companies which sell products to filter out much of the negative content of the Internet.
DeMoss also encourages parents to monitor phone and Internet bills for unknown phone charges to make sure that children aren't accessing pornography sites.
Finally, whenever possible, sit with your children when they are online. Parental supervision is key to helping them make wise decisions on where they go online.
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