Thursday, November 22, 2007

Internet Safety

It seems that safe surfing is a hot topic these days. Having spent a couple of years at ContentWatch, which makes NetNanny, this is a topic that is close to my heart. As parents, we cannot simply allow our children to wander around on the Internet without some sort of supervision or control. Statistics show that about 60% of the content on the Internet is pornographic in nature. That is an amazing statistic - that means that a majority of the content out there is adult in nature. The average age of first exposure to innappropriate content is 8 years old. It is simply irresponsible parenting to allow our children free access to all of the content on the Internet. Even if they don't search it out, they will come across some type of pornographic content if they spend any significant amount of time on the Internet.

Another study, done by the FBI, showed that anyone who spends any significant amount of time in chat rooms has a 100% chance of interacting with a predator. Our children don't understand this danger, and it is up to us as parents to help them understand the dangers and avoid them.

However, there is so much good stuff out there that we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is not realistic to simply turn off the Internet to our homes.

So, we need to become educated as parents, and provide the tools and rules for using the Internet that will help our children have a good experience, and avoid the bad stuff out there. While I was still working for ContentWatch, I helped to compile the 10 safety tips for parents, and one of my friends has started an Internet Safety podcast site, where he discusses these types of issues. Dr. Knutson and I have had several great conversations regarding the need to provide guidance and protection for out children. This is a topic that is close to his heart, and these are meaningful podcasts. Check it out here.

Bottom line is that there are plenty of resources out there. Don't allow your children to become one of the statistics - get educated about Internet Safety, and put some rules and technology in place for your home.