Are Your Kids Safe Online? - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
2/24/2006
12:07 AM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
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Are Your Kids Safe Online?

You know the old saying: Timing is everything. The best time to start a new diet, for example, is not the same week Girl Scout cookies are delivered. I learned that lesson last week, and I'm not turning back until the last Thin Mint has been consumed! So when is the right time to find ways to keep your kids safe online? In a word: Now. But ask 10 people about their strategies, and you'll get 10 different answers--filters, computers in a visible family area, talking to their kids about good and b

You know the old saying: Timing is everything. The best time to start a new diet, for example, is not the same week Girl Scout cookies are delivered. I learned that lesson last week, and I'm not turning back until the last Thin Mint has been consumed! So when is the right time to find ways to keep your kids safe online? In a word: Now. But ask 10 people about their strategies, and you'll get 10 different answers--filters, computers in a visible family area, talking to their kids about good and bad Web sites, etc. We all want to trust our kids to make the right choices, but let's face it: There's plenty of crap out there that they could inadvertently stumble upon. Or they could innocently give out personal information to the wrong people. In addition to your parenting techniques, what are your kids' schools doing to teach Internet safety?I recently got an e-mail about this from David Guzman, who I first met during his tenure as CIO at Owens & Minor, a two-time InformationWeek 500 winner. He was applauding a school in the Richmond, Virginia, area--Deep Run--for the technology it makes available to students, along with the school's principal, who's actively educating parents and students about Internet safety. "Educators around the country are either dealing with this nightmare, or worse, are unaware that the dangers lurk in their midst," Guzman, a father of three, noted.

Deep Run Principal Dr. Aaron Spence has warned parents about inappropriate content on personal networking sites such as MySpace.com, Facebook.com, and Xanga.com, which are quite popular with teens. So where can kids go to network in a safe environment? The first person I turn to for advice is Parry Aftab, executive director of Wired Safety and a privacy lawyer.

Her recommendation: Yfly.com, which was founded by entrepreneurs Drew Levin and Daniel Perkins and actor/singer Nick Lachey (you know, the soon-to-be-former Mr. Jessica Simpson). Parry was part of the launch team that created Yfly for teens ages 13 to 18 and includes many safety controls. Check it out. Or better yet, have your teens check it out. In the meantime, let us know what safety strategies you recommend to your kids. Even good parents who are tech-savvy could use advice.

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