The Internet and the invention of the personal computer are perhaps the most significant creations of the 20th Century, offering unprecedented communication tools that link families and friends worldwide. It provides users access to an incredible volume of information and invaluable tools for the academic and business world.

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However, the Internet can also be a seedy and dangerous place for people of all ages, especially children and teens. Therefore parents must be aware of how to minimalize the dangers to their children and to be able to inform their children of what measures to take to keep their Internet time as safe as possible.

Children are often introduced to the Internet at an early age, at which time the parent has full control over their child’s Internet use. As the child develops, however, parents naturally have to gradually relinquish this control, whilst at the same time doing all they can to keep their children safe from the dangers that the Internet poses.

Age 2 to 4

At this age, children start interacting with the computer in the presence of their parents. Numerous sites can be suitable for this age group, but, in most cases, it makes sense for the parent and child to explore together. This is not just because of safety but also to assure that the child has a pleasant experience. It’s probably best for parents to choose the Websites they visit and not let them leave those sites on their own.

Age 4 to 8

For the first time, children begin to explore independently, but it’s still important for parents to be in very close touch with their children as they explore the Net. When your child’s at this age, it becomes important to restrict their access only to sites you have visited and that you feel are appropriate. At this age, kids must experience positive results from sites that they come across. The issue here isn’t so much about avoiding dangerous sites but about making sure they visit sites that don’t frustrate them.

Age 8 to 11

During this period, children begin looking outside the family for new information for the first time, and peer pressure becomes an issue for many kids. It’s also a time when kids are looking for more independence from their parents. Children should be encouraged to explore their own more during these years, but that doesn’t mean that the parents shouldn’t be close by. For this age group

Consider putting the computer in a kitchen area or any other areas where the child has access to parents while using the computer. That way, they can be “independent” but not alone. Also, this is a prime age to start to make use of commercially available Internet filtering and monitoring software such as iProtectYou My Update Star.