The Internet offers a worldwide network of information for educational, business, and entertainment uses. As with anything else, however, parental guidance ensures the most appropriate use for your child.
While many children may be more comfortable with computers than their parents, the following suggestions can assist you in teaching your child to be “street smart” on the information highway and make sure that their experience is a positive one.
- Spend time with your child on the Internet.
- If you do not know how to use it, have your child teach you.
- Spend time on the Internet by yourself. Educate yourself to what is out there.
- Be aware of the risks involved with using the Internet. You can find: inappropriate material, people with bad manners and language, computer viruses, harassment, data theft, advertising scams, etc.
- Understand that there is no real control on the Internet, and no real way for you to completely control your child's access.
- Be aware of the major roles marketing and advertising play in funding the information available.
- Set acceptable use rules for your child.
- Teach your child how to be safe on the Internet. See Child Safety on the Information Highway.
More on the Internet
The Internet is a network of networks. For decades it was text only and used mainly by the military, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions. Now it is accessed by people of all ages and backgrounds who are finding new and inventive ways to use added graphics, audio, and video capabilities. San Francisco Public Library offers you and your child an opportunity to explore this information technology.
The Internet offers a wide range of possibilities waiting for you and your child to discover. For example, NASA has many Web pages with the latest information about space probes and other space missions. Many public and private schools have their own Web sites where you can find out the current homework assignments or email your child’s teacher. Try one of the many search engines to help with homework projects, look for information on sports, movies, and the latest computer game, or take virtual field trips all over the world.
Heavy media coverage over the explosive growth of the Internet may be confusing and frightening. Remember that since no single government or private organization is in charge, no one controls the accuracy of information posted or polices the scams and other potential problems that you or your child may come across while surfing the Internet. It is very easy and inexpensive to publish and distribute information on the Internet to people all over the world. Most laws that cover print also apply to items published on the net, but policing techniques are still inadequate. It is important that you and your child become good information consumers and learn how to protect yourselves.