Thursday, June 10, 2010

Basic Internet Safety for Pre-schoolers


Now that my oldest child is 4, we let him have a little time on the computer each week to play some educational games and I guess get used to using the keyboard and mouse. Which has really started to bring home to me the big dangerous world out there for kids which is the internet. I'm in no way any sort of expert on the matter, apart from being a parent myself, but I thought I would share with you a couple of things we have done for a child starting out on computers and the internet.

For us, supervision is the number one priority. Have the computer in your living room or similar (with the screen facing out towards you, not towards the wall) when your child is using it so you can keep an eye on exactly what they are doing. For pre-schoolers it is a matter of watching that they don't click accidentally on undesirable links, however for older children it allows you to watch what they are doing. For example it is easy for you to check to see they are not on facebook when they are supposed to be doing their homework (in a previous post I touched on Using Facebook and some of my thoughts in regards to this).

I love the Australian Governments initiative Cyber Smart (which used to be 'Netty’s World'). Cybersmart provides activities, resources and practical advice to help young kids, kids, teens and parents safely enjoy the online world. Cybersmart also offers training and resources for schools and materials for library staff. Developed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority , Cybersmart is part of the Australian Government’s cybersafety program. It is a fantastic FREE resource for the whole family.

Install safety filters on your computer – Check out this informative post on free internet filters and software for some great tips from Super Parent.

When looking for online games stick to well known and trusted sites such as the ABC, Fisher Price, and Thomas & Friends (some of our favorites).

Plus have a look at the great hints contained in Superparents post on Three Techniques to keep your child safe Online. In particular the issue of cyber-bullying is discussed, a terrifying modern phenomenon we could certainly all do without.

I would love to hear some of the methods you employ to keep your child safe on the internet, for us it is a journey just beginning and its a scary thought of having to keep on our toes to keep abreast of technology and internet safety!

Monique Nickalls JP BSc (hons) Dip Prof Couns
Your Cheeky Monkey
Baby | Infant | Mum


Melinda @ Here We Go Loopy Lou said...

Great post. My 4 year old loves the computer right now. Plays a few games on ABC kids etc. It is amazing how quickly they can jump to another site though. One minute he was playing a matching game on Thomas, then he was on youtube watching some home made violent version of a Thomas episode. Nixed that one immediately!

Your Cheeky Monkey said...

My thoughts exactly Melinda - with this sort of age group its what they click on accidentally that's the worry!

The Original SuperParent said...

One way I think works nicely - ask parents of older children. We've gotten a few beautiful suggestions for educational or entertainment sites just from talking to school mums and dads who've tried different things. :-) Colin

SquiggleMum said...

My biggest tip is to keep computers in an open family area. Start that rule young, and it won't be as hard to enforce down the track!

Your Cheeky Monkey said...

Thanks Colin - great idea.

I agree Cath, that was my first and most important point!