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Helping Parents Keep Kids Safe On The Internet

Are your kids safe online? If you think they are, you may want to think again. Recent studies reveal some shocking statistics. One in five young Internet users received an online sexual solicitation during a one-year period; and almost one in three gave out their home address. Like most parents, you probably want to protect your children, but feel you lack the technical savvy to take action. Fortunately, a group of companies and organizations has joined forces to form the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and a website, www.iKeepSafe.

org. At iKeepSafe.org, parents can access a free tool that guides them through the 10 technical actions they must take to protect their children online. Developed in partnership with Internet security leader Symantec, the tutorial covers everything from filters and fraud, to safe surfing and searching, as well as how to track and monitor a child's Internet usage. The iKeepSafe.

org website includes a list of safety tips for kids, plus animated videos and games with safety information. It also offers these helpful tips for parents: • Keep the computer in a common room in the house and position the monitor so it's available for public viewing. • Establish rules for using the Internet and teach children important safety guidelines. • Use blocking software or filtering programs, but don't rely on them as your only line of defense. • Teach children that people online are not always who they say they are. • Frequently check the Internet history to see which sites your children are visiting. • Monitor your children's e-mail account. Let them know you're doing it and why. • Spend time with your children online. Have them show you their favorite sites.

• If you see anything suspicious or think your child may be a victim of Internet exploitation, call the police, the FBI or the National Center for Missing Children at (800) 843-5678.


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