Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dateline NBC has Internet safety tips


Chris Hansen, anchor of the NBC Dateline Series "To Catch a Predator" concludes his book on the series (my blog entry here, date March 17) with a chapter giving reasonable online safety tips for parents.

The msnbc dateline link for the tips (or "Internet Safety Kit") is here. For the famed and controversial television series the link is here.

One of the more interesting tips is that he recommends that parents limit a given kid's activities on the computer to two hours a day. This should be enough time for socializing, looking up legitimate entertainment, and most of all for homework. He also recommends that the computer be located in a central area of the home and not in a kid's home. And he suggests a frank talk with kids about not giving out family information (address, land phone number, and even school attended) on social networking site profiles. There have also been recent concerns that, although facebook and more recently other social networking profiles (especially Myspace) can be whitelisted to a list of "friends" (and shut out of the search engines), these "friends" tend to reproduce private information so even whitelisted postings don't stay private.

The Internet, at least for a minor or someone not established into an adult career, should not be viewed as a "free entry" ticket to "fame" (like the name of the 1980 movie and song).

Of course, the Internet can be a tremendous asset in legitimate schoolwork, and teachers have a quandary in assigning work where it is needed. One solution is for teachers to use carefully structured lessons with the Internet in classrooms (rather than handouts) and try to set a good example for how to learn from the Internet at home.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I wanted to make you aware of a new site that was recently launched. The name is www.yokidsyo.com and a number of parent, law enforcement and educator volunteers have created the site targeting pre-teen children to give them an alternative to the myspace.coms of the world. A “white list” feature is built into the site which requires that parents approve anyone and everyone their child can communicate with…In other words, if my child wants to communicate via private messages with a friend then both parents must approve the other’s child as a buddy. In addition, parents can view every message received or sent from their child….and this is from any internet enabled computer. It does not require any download. There is lots of content for registered parents as well as cool and wholesome content for kids. The response has been tremendous. Kids this age are now starting to ask for email capabilities…before they get hooked on myspace or some other unsecured email or chat system this is a great opportunity to give them a safe online identity. Registration is totally free and the feedback from parents has been amazing….with lots of inquiries from the media who are considering feature articles and newscasts. Anyway, I wanted to make you aware…
Best regards,
Mark