• A Tech-Challenged Parent’s Guide to the Internet

    Technically-challenged parents could easily get lost in the world wide web. Read on to learn computer basics and how to protect your kids from online predators.
    by Julian Vorpal .
  • mom and child on computer

    It’s 6 pm -- do you know where your kids are? If they have internet access, they can be a thousand miles away for all you know.  The World Wide Web is a big place, filled with many wonders. Information, entertainment and literally a whole universe of people are out there, all accessible at a single keystroke. But not all is sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice here. It’s also chock-full of things like XXX sites, racial hate pages, terrorist recruitment lists, Jersey Shore and enough profanity to make a drill sergeant proud.  

    Here’s how you can avoid exposing your child to all of that.

    What to Expect
    The first thing is to be realistic - Internet, Cable TV, Pay-per-view, Hip-Hop music and Korean telenovelas are all here to stay. Your goal isn’t to raise prudish, naïve adults, but to do the best you can so your children will grow up with a healthy outlook on life. The G.I. Joe team said it best: “Knowing is half the battle.” You don’t need to be a whiz in computers to protect your child from the hazards of the net, but it wouldn’t hurt to know some helpful tips about what you’re up against.  

    Remember, technology’s always changing; what’s written here may not be technically relevant in a few years, but, no matter how much computers change, all it takes is common sense and a willingness to learn to stay on top and in touch with the times.

    Expert Advice
    Jo Mari Calumpit, an internet café owner and manager, says kids tend to know more about computers than adults do. “They’re essentially more curious than smart, actually, which isn’t a bad thing, but it presents problems when dealing with the net.”

    What can busy parents do? “Parents can subscribe to cybernanny services and use Windows itself to block inappropriate content but ultimately, the best thing is to prevent the use of the net unattended. I would restrict net access so long as I’m not home, using passwords and only allowing the child to surf if I’m there. Thing is, it’s a stopgap measure because eventually, kids will enter internet cafes without their parents knowing.”

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