Internet SafetyInternet Safety

What Parents Should Know

The Internet is a global network of information accessible with a computer. Not only is the information presented on a screen with words, but it also may be accompanied by pictures, sound, and even short videos. There are hundreds of thousands of "sites" which contain educational and recreational information.

These sites are "linked" with other related sites in order to create a "World Wide Web" of topics that provide all kinds of information. Almost anything you want to know about can be found somewhere on the Internet. People are free to create personal "home pages" and can also put information on the Internet without identifying themselves.

Also on the Internet are "usenet groups" and "chat rooms" that allow people to have online conversations on a variety of topics. People write messages which are sent and displayed on the computer screen to others who log onto the group address. Anyone can participate in these discussions which range from football to the latest archaeological find in Egypt.

The Internet and World Wide Web are not currently regulated in the same manner as television or radio broadcasting. This can open the door to some risks of which parents and children need to be aware. Some Internet information may be inaccurate or biased and there are some sites that may be inappropriate for children and teenagers. Also, because the computer allows for anonymity, certain websites may be rude, obnoxious and even sexually explicit and/or exploitive.

Does this mean that you as a parent shouldn’t allow your child to use the Internet? Of course simply means that you should be alert to and aware of the wide range of Internet information and how your own child interacts with it.

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The text in this section was adapted with permission from the Boston Public Library.