My kids have learned a lot from Mommy's blogging.
They have learned that:
1. People can choose whatever name they like when they are on the computer. No one called me "Midwest Mom" before I started blogging.
2. Every time you click on something, you're telling the computer that you want to "go somewhere" on the web. They've learned to be careful so they don't wind up someplace they never wanted to be.
3. All websites have a person behind the scenes -- the person who types in the blog entry, creates the graphics, programs the sound. Because of #1, they understand that the person behind the site is someone they don't know. Even Mommy's site has some unknown people -- advertisers and google techies -- who can read what gets typed in.
Learning these things from Mommy's blog has made it easier for my kids to understand the basics of how to keep themselves safe when they're on the computer -- at school or at home.
We have a few basic rules:
Kids shouldn't share their real names on the Internet. I tell mine to create a fun character name if they ever have to login or register at a site. And they are never to type in any information without my approval.
Kids shouldn't "chat" about their home, their town, their school, or their friends. They should not share their age. No legitimate website for kids is going to ask this information, so I've taught mine to be suspicious. (To remember that all sites have people behind the scenes, and they don't know who those people are.)
Kids and Parents should work together to make a list of approved websites. We keep ours in a special file in our "Favorites" tab. I give my children choices, but only from the list that I've set up in advance.
Kids should not click on advertisements. I've shown my children what ads are on the web and they know that you can click something and lose what you've been working on. They know they are not to click willy-nilly. And if a dialog box ever comes up, Call Mom! I want to be sure to keep my computer safe from unwanted downloads. My kids know that unwanted junk ruins the computer for all of us.
There are some great websites out there for kids -- sites that we approve of and use. If you're just getting started with your child on the computer, give these a try:
Cool Math 4 Kids
Jump Start World
I'll be writing more about Jump Start tomorrow (and psst! I'll be having my first giveaway!)
So, stay tuned and stay safe on the computer!
- Midwest Mom