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Teach Your Child How to Use the Internet

The information highway is a great resource for school age children to obtain information for a variety of school related and personal issues. No matter what they are looking for, your children will find it on the Internet, but it’s important they know how to look for the things they need to know.

The Internet is just a vast open portal that can be overwhelming for young children when looking for things to do online, the younger your children are the more supervision they will need, not that this is much different than what most parents do anyway.

Preschool
Children of the preschool age should always go online with a family member or adult caregiver. Generally children of this age don’t have the critical thinking skills to be online alone. As you go online with your preschoolers slowly explain every move you are making while you are connecting to the Internet.

“Here is the internet icon that we click to open the Internet, then we click our user name and sign in. Wow, look at that, we’re online.”

Explain to your child how the search engine works to find all the web sites that you are interested in using. “Now, let’s find some fun websites, we click here in this search box and type in “preschool games”, look at all those websites we can go to, to have some fun and learn. EUse kid friendly search engines, such as http://encarta.msn.com/ or download http://www.hekko.com free, where you can pre-select the websites you allow your child to browse.

Main points to address:

  • Supervise children online consistently.
  • Explain how the search engines work to find information.
  • Slowly explain every step you are taking with your child.

Grades K-6th
When your children are looking for information for school and other projects, the Internet can be a great resource. Explain to your child that not every website has accurate content so they should always double check the information they find online for accuracy. Have your child note the type of website it is, is it an entertainment website (which could have purposely misleading information), a media site, or a retail website. They should also back up the information they find on websites with reference CD’s, books or other similar web sites.

Establish house rules (as set out in the article Understanding the Dangers of Online Predators) for your child’s safety. Its very important children understand the concerns and real dangers of giving out their real name on a web site or through personal e-mails. House rules should include, the time a child can spend online, the type of websites they are allowed to visit, the type of information they can provide to websites and chat rooms, and the type of chat rooms they are allowed to use  Eit should actually only be school related or a room that is moderated.

You should also check the websites your child visits, not as a nosey parent but as a precautionary parent. You can do so by looking at your temporary Internet files or the history files on your Internet Browser.

To review your temporary files using Internet Explorer complete the following steps

  1. While in Internet Explorer click Tools and then select Internet Options.
  2. Once the window pops up click on the General tab, click Settings under the Browsing History or Temporary Internet Files.
  3. On the Internet Files window find View Files and click it. The window that pops up will show every website ever browsed from that computer.

Main points to address:

  • Regularly review the websites your children view by going to the Internet temporary files on your computer.
  • Establish house rules for this age group.
  • If you allow them to have their own e-mail address, be sure to set parental control filters so adult content or Spam cannot get through your child’s mailbox.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Education.

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