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Librarian offering advice


On the Internet: Family Tips 
There are many good Web sites for children. However, there are also Web sites that you would not want your children to see. Parents need to monitor where children go on the Web and how much time they spend online.

Here are some suggestions for enjoying the Internet and helping your children learn to be safe, responsible users.

1. Use the Web together.
Young children should always use the Internet with an adult. Help your child find good Web sites to explore. Talk about what you see on the screen. Let your child use the mouse as you have fun and learn together.

Spend time online with older kids, as well. Let them show you Web sites they like. Together, search for sites that can help with homework, or that give information about a favorite sports team or movie. As you explore, you will be helping your child learn about using the Internet responsibly.

2. Talk about ads.
Some Web sites have ads that flash constantly. Help children recognize the difference between advertisements and information. You may prefer to have your children visit sites that are advertisement-free (such as pbskids.org).

3. Talk about accuracy.
Anyone can put information on the Internet. Help children understand that everything they read on the Internet is not necessarily true. Check to see who wrote the Web site. Was it written by an organization or person that you trust?

4. Keep your computer in a place where your family often gathers.
The kitchen or family room are great places for a computer in your home. This way you can remain involved with your children when they are on the Internet. Encourage them to talk about and show you activities and information they find.

5. Choose some good Web sites with your children and "bookmark" them.
Your children can then return to these sites with one click of the mouse. (For a list of tips and great Web sites for parents and kids, visit the American Library Association.)

6. Teach children some basic rules for using the Internet safely.

  • Children should never give their full name, phone number, or address to anyone on the Internet -- even on "kid friendly" sites.
  • If your children have questions or feel uneasy about anything they see on the computer screen, they should stop and tell a trusted adult.
  • Children should never arrange to meet with a new Internet friend in person unless their parent goes with them.

7. Limit screen time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend no more than two hours a day in front of a TV or computer screen. Be sure your child has time in the day for books, family fun, and active play.

 

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