Monitoring your Children’s Online Activity
The most critical component of children's online safety is parental involvement. The best method of protecting young or teenage children online is for parents to stay involved in their online activities.
Ways to Track Your Son or Daughters E-mail Correspondence and Web Activity:
- Search the "Sent Items" folder? Many e-mail programs, including Outlook, or Web-based mail such as Yahoo! or Hotmail, will have a folder that contains a copy of each e-mail that has been sent.
- Search the "Inbox" folder for copies of messages sent to your child.
- Search the "Deleted Items" folder. Copies of e-mail not available in the "Sent Items" or "Inbox" may still be viewable in the e-mail trash bin.
- Take a look at the Internet "Bookmarks" or "Favorites”? These are Internet sites that have been saved for easy future reference.
- Check the Web surfing "History," if one is available. The surfing history will list the Web site addresses of all the sites that have been visited recently using that browser. For example, in Microsoft Internet Explorer, in the "Standard Buttons" toolbar, there is a link for "History." Click on that to view sites that have been recently viewed with that browser. (Note ? the History setting can be altered to keep records dating back up to 999 days, or as little as 0 days. Click on the "Tools" menu item, and then click on "Internet Options." You'll see the History settings on the "General" tab.)
Explain to your kids that sometimes people are not who they appear to be online and it's important that they understand this. It's a good idea to monitor your kids email usage and limit it to people that “you” know and approve of (relatives, friends, etc.). One thing to note is that you might not have the password necessary to get into your children's e-mail account. This is why it is critical that you sit-down with them and go through their email together.
Do not keep the computer in the kid’s bedroom – Set up the computer in a family room/kitchen area of the residence so that it is easily viewable from anywhere in the home. Parents who are not necessarily computer literate should spend time surfing the internet and learning with their children. Do not let your anxiety of learning the computer be an excuse to not get involved with your children’s activities on it.
Discuss the potential dangers with your children. Advise them on what is and isn't acceptable information to share with strangers on the Internet, including chat rooms and email messages.