Are Your Children Safe on the Internet
– Part II
I have received considerable feedback from readers
on my April WECN MySpace.com article. Parents were very surprised
to learn this site and similar sites exist and asked how they
can determine where their children have been surfing on the web
and for safety tips for their children.
First, as an update, MySpace.com’s owner,
News Corp., is responding to criticism by launching a multimillion-dollar
public service advertising campaign. According to the Wall Street
Journal, the print and television spots will promote online safety
and advice featuring the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children’s website, cybertipline.com.
For Parents: How can you track your child’s
web surfing? In Netscape, you should go to “Go” on
your toolbar and then drop down to and click on “History.”
Netscape will then display the history of where users have been.
However, be aware prior users could change some of your computer’s
settings to limit the amount of history that is displayed. They
could do this by going to “Edit” on the toolbar, clicking
on “Preferences,” and then under “Navigator”
clicking on “History.”
In Internet Explorer, go to “View”
on your toolbar and then curse down to “Explorer Bar”
and then “History.” To regulate the number of days
of history displayed, go to “Tools” on your toolbar,
then “Internet Options,” and then “History.”
For Kids: BlogSafety.com also offers the following
important safety tips for kids:
Be as anonymous
as possible. Avoid postings that could enable a stranger
to locate you. That includes your last name, the name of your
school, sports teams, the towns you live in, and where you
Protect your info. Check
to see if your service has a "friends" list that
allows you to control who can visit your profile or blog.
If so, allow only people you really know and trust. If you
don't use privacy preferences, anyone can see your info, including
people with bad intentions.
Avoid in-person meetings.
Don't get together with someone you "meet" through
a blog unless you are certain of his or her actual identity.
Although it's still not risk-free, if you do meet the person,
arrange the meeting in a public place and bring some friends
Photos. Think before posting.
What's uploaded to the Net can be downloaded by anyone and
passed around or posted online pretty much forever. Avoid
posting photos that allow people to identify you (for example,
when they're searching for your high school), especially sexually
suggestive images. Before uploading a photo, think about how
you'd feel if it were seen by a parent/grandparent, college
admissions counselor, or future employer.
Check comments regularly.
If you allow them on your profile or blog, check them often.
Don't respond to mean or embarrassing comments. Delete them
and, if possible, block offensive people from commenting further.
Be honest about your age. Membership
rules are there to protect people. If you are too young to
sign up, do not attempt to lie about your age. Talk with your
parents about alternative sites that may be appropriate for
I expect this won’t be the last time I
write about this important topic.