Do you think that the Internet is safe nowadays?
19 Feb 07
Not inherently. The Internet is a city street, not a school library. It's a forum where anyone, good or bad, can communicate. At the same time, it's so valuable, as an educational resource, that we'd be fools to keep children off it entirely. That would be like not teaching them to read. The most basic thing I do to keep my children safe on the Internet is to put the networked computer in a shared area of the house, where other family members will see what's going on, rather than in the child's bedroom. I have taught my children how to use www.yahoo.com to search for what interests them. Surfing at random, in search of adventure, is a bad idea; it is also an ineffective way to see the Internet, since you'll miss the good stuff. Some more rules that I've made for my children are: * No participation in chat rooms or other forums where people normally conceal their identity. You should always know who you are talking to, by e-mail address if not by name. Chat rooms may be safe for adults, but in my opinion they are not a safe environment for children. * The Internet is not for filling up the idle hours. ("Get a life!") Your Internet usage should be purposeful. This is another reason I don't like chat rooms -- they waste time. With less effort you can communicate with more people, and get better answers to your questions, through a newsgroup or e-mail discussion list. * No computer games that involve realistic violence, whether they involve the Internet or not. * No associating with people who glamorize illegal or malicious acts.