Using common sense on the Internet | 802 Online

Using common sense on the Internet

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Hey, it's about time! MySpace owners News Corp. have launched a campaign to help parents understand how to keep their kids safe online. Their website, Common Sense: Internet Safety Survival Guide, explains the online world to parents and others who don't yet comprehend MySpace, YouTube, blogs, iTunes, etc. 

Yes, this is run by the company that owns MySpace, so you've got to take that into account, but it still looks to me like a potentially handy resource for parents tired of the one-note media fearmongering. It would be great if an objective third party would step up and create and promote such a functional site, but if a better one than this exists, I don't know about it.

Here's an example of the "Common Sense Tips" from the site's page on Online Social Networking:

  1. No social networking for kids in middle school or younger.

  2. Balance your teen's need for privacy and self-expression with concerns about safety and responsibility.Forbidding social networking sites probably won't work for kids in highschool, so focus your energies on appropriate postings and safetyinformation.

  3. Create safe privacy settings. Make sure they're set for “friends only.”

  4. Tell kids to think about their photos and entries before they’re posted.Since anything can be downloaded and forwarded, ask your kids if theywant the world to see what they post. Remind them that future collegesor potential employers could be checking them out.

  5. Make sure they avoid all personal identifiers and avoid postings about parties, events, or activities where a stranger could find them.

  6. Don't let kids meet strangers.

There's plenty more, along with descriptions of how sites work, and how parents can snoop on their kids if they choose to. I haven't dissected it all yet, but on first glance, I'd say it looks useful.

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