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KWIUG - June 22, 1999

Kids and Parents on the 'Net -
Presented by:

Kelly Craft

(kcraft@mgl.ca)

Online Safety - Net-proofing Your Kids

I know this topic has been covered in the past, but these sites are so note-worthy that it is worth mentioning them to parents who want some good guidelines to follow in net-proofing their kids without the use of "Net-Nanny" and other site-restricting products.

The Police Notebook

Excellent instruction on net-proofing children.

http://www.ou.edu/oupd/kidtool.htm

SafeKids.com

Decent resources offering guidelines on net-proofing your kids.

Decent resources offering guidelines on net-proofing your kids.

http://www.ou.edu/oupd/inetmenu.htm

 

General Tips and Suggestions:

Parents need to become familiar with their computer and the Internet. Often the main Internet user in the household is the child. Know your system as well as, or better then your child.

Make the Internet a family affair by learning to use it together.

Keep the computer in a common area like the family room or living room.

Monitor your children's incoming and out going email.

Children should never exchange pictures of themselves over the Internet.

Parents and children should decide together upon a list of appropriate sites to visit.

A child should never arrange a "meeting" in person with another Internet user.

Your children should never provide personal information like last name or telephone numbers to other Internet users.

The parent should monitor the usage hours of a child, a service which can usually be provided to you by your ISP.

Expert (read: SNEAKY! :) Tips I Have Used on My Own System:

Set up a separate desktop & profile login for your child if using Win95/98. This will ensure that you keep bookmarks, history files, email apart for easier tracking.

Set-up a separate email program that is not the same as the one you use. In many mail programs you can set advanced default settings which will allow you to store copies of incoming and outgoing email in folders or make sure that it defaults to alway s "save copy to self". That way, you can periodically check what type of email your child is sending out. NOTE: For a nominal fee, most ISP's will set-up a separate email account (attached to your own account) for approximately $5.00/month. This also prev ents an overlap of your kids reading your email. :)

Additionally, if you have a separate email account for your child, you can configure the mail program to "save messages on server" versus "delete messages on server". This means that although the mail will be downloaded into the mail program, copies will also be stored on the ISP server. In a worst-case scenario, you could log in to your childs email account and still view the email residing on the server. Even the most savvy of net-literate kids wouldn't think to delete the mail from the server (t hey think it happens "auto-magically!).

Make sure that your child's browser settings allow the use of "cookies". This is usually set up in the "options" settings of your browser. As an adult, you may wish to turn cookies off, however, as a parent, it is a safeguard to leave them on.

Check out the "cookies" folder in the "windows" or "win98" directory occasionally. The cookies will show you the sites you child is visiting - including web-based email sites.

A few words on cookies:

The use of cookies is becoming more prevalent and they do raise very important privacy concerns. The software technology called "cookies" comes into play when you use your Browser. Cookies are basically a powerful technology t hat gathers and keeps track of information while you are browsing the Internet. So cookies keep track of information, which can be used for its own sake (there's where the controversy comes in) and also to save you.

Essentially, when you log onto a site that uses "cookies" the site sends a special piece of information--called a "cookie"--onto your computer. The cookie has two features that are important to understand:

1) it has a set of Internet locations (such as the location of the site you have logged onto) that you might log onto again in the future. But the cookie is more than a map back to certain sites on the Internet.

2) It's also a little information collection program that can ask your computer simple questions about your operating system, the service provider you use to connect to the Internet, etc. Sites can thereby store your preferences on your computer, and h ave the computer supply those preferences every time you re-connect to that site. Note this technology is passive; i.e., you do not know the info is being gathered.

Examples:

The Cookie directory displays a general view of sites the user has visited which collected cookie information, and many sites geared towards children use cookies.

The Cookie directory displays a general view of sites the user has visited which collected cookie information, and many sites geared towards children use cookies.

Cookies

If we were to open the "anyuser@blabla.com" cookie, we can see that the user visited bla-bla.com, that they used the bla-bla webmail, what they logged in as, and their email nickname. This is very useful for seeing where your kids are using web-based email.

Cookie Contents

Safe Kids Chat:

One of the areas parents should be most aware of is the "chat" rooms their children are on. Kids can make friends from all over the world in chat rooms - they get so excited when they talk to someone in Brazil! On the down side, chat rooms are also the spot your kids are most likely to be exposed to language and attitudes that you wouldn't tolerate in your own living room. With a little guidance and fore-thought, you can give your kids the chance to chat safely and enjoy the fun of making new friends on the Net.

A few children's chat sites that I would recommend are:

KidsCom.com Chat

http://www.kidscom.com/orakc/Friends/newfriends.html

Monitored by Chat wall staff. Kids must be registered first. Can go on under 11 or over 11 teen wall. Kids are monitored by Wall Staff and may not post personal info, including: full name, email address, icq #’s, phone numbers . Swearing is not allowed. Kids will be kicked off the wall for minor infractions – parents/ISP’s will be contacted for major infractions.

CyberKids

http://www.cyberkids.com/

Kids under 12 may not begin chatting, emailing, etc., until they have had a legal guardian register them a signed permission form via fax.

Kids/Family Sites

Getting involved with your kids Net/Web activities is not only smart - it can be a whole lot of fun, too! These sites provide games, activities, party-planning ideas, recipes, travel information.

Attractions Ontario

This one is a personal family favorite. We use this to find out about events and attractions all over Ontario - and often find discounts and coupons to use, too!

http://www.attractions.on.ca/

Family.com

Covers education, parenting tips, health & links to Disney!

Covers education, parenting tips, health & links to Disney!

http://family.go.com/Categories/Education/

KidsCom

Write stories, play games, exchange kid recipes, find out about safety on the Net for your kids

Write stories, play games, exchange kid recipes, find out about safety on the Net for your kids

http://www.parents-talk.com/onthenet/onthenet.html

Canadian Kids Homepage

http://www.onramp.ca/cankids/

Covers education, Canadian sites of interest, daily activity, history links, etc.

WorldVillage Kidz

http://www.worldvillage.com/kidz/homework.htm

Great links to education and homework helper sites

 KinderArt

Provides great creative and Art related activities

Provides great creative and Art related activities

http://www.kinderart.com/lessons.htm

General Parenting Sites:

Parenting is a whole lot more than just net-proofing kids these days. The following sites all have useful links and resources to help you out in the toughest of all jobs:

ParentsPlace.com

http://www.parentsplace.com/

Offers Departments, articles, surveys, chats, bulletin board, expert advice - all on health, fertility, education, family life, ages & stages.

National Parents Center

Offers advice and tips from 9 of the world's top experts on child-rearing. Monthly newsletter with articles focusing on all age groups, shopping mall, children's book reviews.

http://www.tnpc.com/

 Parenthood Web

http://www.parenthoodweb.com/

Ask the Pro's", discussion lists, scheduled topical chats, daily TV highlights, facts & figures on parenting.

Caregiver Sites

Categorized by: parenting, family, health & safety, special needs, blended families and more

http://www.interserf.net/mcken/parent.htm

DadSite

http://www.bickelboys.com/dadsite.html

Many links to parenting resources of all sorts, quite a few on home schooling.

 

Step-parenting / Blended Family sites:

The Stepparenting Connection

http://www.stepparentingatl.com/

The Step-parenting Connection's goal and sole purpose is to help improve relationships within the blended family, by providing additional contacts and resources both on and off the Internet.

The Blended Family

http://www.blendedfamily.com/blendedfamily/resources.html

Provides generalized and specialized links for blended families, grand-parents, even pets in the blended family.

 

Special Needs

Parents With Disabilities:

A wonderful web site loaded with resources and support for Parents who have disabilities.

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Trish_and_John/resource.htm

Special Needs Kids:

http://www.irsc.org/

Site devoted to resources and support for Special Needs children.

Special Needs Education

Canadian site provided by SchoolNet.ca Devoted to the parents & Teachers of Special Needs kids.

http://www.schoolnet.ca/sne/e/snewww.html

 

Homework/Education Sites

This is my favorite section of this presentation. As a parent & a perennial "Searcher of Knowledge" - the following sites entice me all too often. I can get lost for hours and hours, just surfing and reading the amazing res ources the WWWW (that should be *Wonderful* World Wide Web) offers us. Most Mom's are really proud if their house is the local hang-out because they bake such good cookies - my home is a local hang-out for the kids when they have a killer project due and need quality research for their homework. And I'm delighted that it has worked out that way... in the process of assisting kids in their studies I have learned more about explorers, authors, literature, philosophy than I can recall learning in school wh en I went myself. :)

BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper

This is one of my personal favorites. The owner of this site is a very industrious 12 year-old boy who started the site in 1996 when he was a mere 9 years old. The site has evolved into a well organized library of reference and resource links to a wide array of educational links.

http://www.bjpinchbeck.com/

Homework Central

http://www.homeworkheaven.com/

Enormous collection of education and reference information! Divided into grade school, high school and university/college level categories. Includes sections for parents, as well as curriculums for Teachers.

SchoolWork.ugh!

Geared towards students in Grades 7 and up. Offers: encyclopedia links, search engines, art, math, sciences, law, literature, biographies, dictionaries, languages, etc.

http://www.schoolwork.org/

For the younger kids, try:

KidsClick - Web Search For Kids by Librarians

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/KidsClick!/

StudyWeb

Research quality resources on the web:

Research quality resources on the web:

http://www.studyweb.com/

Discovery/Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators

http://discoveryschool.com/schrockguide/

Excellent resource site for educators/teachers: Sciences, arts, business, health, math, Internet, etc.


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