10 Suggestions for keeping Children Safe Online

by Anna Blanch on July 28, 2010

Steve Kryger wrote this interesting and compelling post about the current debate in Australia about introducing an ISP filter to block questionable material. Titled Keeping Kids Safe Cannot Be Outsourced, amongst a persuasively written article he offers 10 tips for parents who want to be involved in protecting their children in the current online world.

He urges parents to get familiar with the opportunities and dangers of the technologies that your children are exposed to. Here’s Kryger’s 10 suggestions:

  1. Understand what your child is doing online (put the computer in a public space, talk to your children, use accountability software).
  2. Ask your child to explain to you what they are doing, and why they are doing it.
  3. Talk to your child about your values, and how these should be lived out, regardless of the environment.
  4. Filter the content that your family views online.
  5. Understand the minimum age requirements for different websites and technologies (children under 13 should not be on Facebook).
  6. Understand how these popular websites are used, and what the opportunities and threats are.
  7. Understand what avenues are at your disposal if something goes wrong (e.g. your child’s Facebook account is hacked).
  8. Consider how you will respond if you discover your child is acting inappropriately, or viewing inappropriate material.
  9. Decide when or if your child will get a mobile phone.
  10. Understand the new functions of mobile phones, and what the opportunities and threats are.

I write and think about the role of literature on moral and spiritual formation. In the context of the online world, I wonder whether that isn’t just a little passe. Maybe I should be thinking about the role of culture, print and online material on moral and spiritual formation.

Anna M Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD candidate in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, University of St Andrews. When she’s not writing her doctoral thesis, or here, Anna also writes over at Transpositions.

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  • Aimee

    I'm glad points 9 & 10 were included. I think this will be the biggest challenge to following the earlier points, esp 1 & 4. I like having a 'smart phone', but I can see that by the time my children are teens (another ten years), even if we don't let them have smart phones, the chances are that they will have friends who do and may well have easy access to the Internet without parental supervision, even from quite an early age.

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