Many parents are concerned about what their children are exposed to online but don’t have a clear understanding of what the dangers are or how to prevent them. Especially because of the popularity of social networking, parents must play a proactive role in protecting their children on the Internet. To promote safe online behavior, parents must familiarize themselves with the threats posed by the websites their children often visit. They should visit the sites themselves to learn about what their children are able to see and do, and then research the primary concerns associated with those sites. This information will enable parents to teach their children about the situations they will likely encounter and the appropriate responses.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of keeping children safe online. Children should feel comfortable discussing their concerns, and parents should regularly monitor and ask about Internet usage. Parents must ensure that their children understand basic Internet safety rules, such as not sharing photos, addresses, phone numbers, or other personal information. Parents may also want to consider managing usage by setting limits and keeping computers in open spaces. Internet filters and other software designed to manage family safety help keep children away from unsafe content and give parents the ability to monitor what their children do online.