Most parents these days did not grow up with the any access to computers at all yet our children seem to have been born computer literate. Just like all of the parents before us we need to know everything we can about what our children are doing and where they are going and that is especially true on the Internet.

We have all heard the horrible stories about Internet predators and we all know how insidious they can be. It is so easy to appear to be something that you are not on the Internet that it can cause a real danger to everybody but especially children and young people.

However, the potential dangers to our children on the Internet are not only with predators but also among their own peers. Cyber-bullying, sexting and even various websites promoting dangerous lifestyles can all be a threat to our children. We cannot protect our children from everything but we can use some common sense when it comes to monitoring their Internet use.

First off as a parent it is your responsibility to become computer literate. If your child knows more about the Internet than you do, you need to spend some time to catch up. Take some classes and learn everything you can. You are the parent. You need to know what your child is doing. You need to know how to check the history on your computer and know where your children have been surfing.

You also need to monitor email. It may even be a good idea to share an email account until your child has reached a certain maturity level. That way you can monitor incoming emails and delete any objectionable spam. Once your child has reached a certain age and you know that they understand the responsibility of it then they can get an email account of their own.

Don’t be ignorant about social networking sites. Your kids may not think it is cool for a parent to hang around myspace, facebook and twitter but it doesn’t hurt anyone for you to know what is going on at those sites. Also, the reason why cyberbullying can become so pervasive is because people spend so much time online. Teach your children and yourself as well, how to disconnect. Go do something else, find a life away from the Internet. It will still be there when you get back.

You should also install monitoring software on your computer to ensure safety. That way you can track all Internet activity, including chat room exchanges, messaging and all websites visited. This is a great tool that you can use discreetly to assure yourself that your kids are playing safe online.

The Internet is a wonderful thing that can teach us and help us to grow in many ways but it can also be a dangerous thing if it is abused or not monitored closely enough. You love your kids, you need to watch them as they play, be it online or at the neighborhood park.

Karen Lynch is a freelance writer who is passionate about taking care of her family. She often writes about family matters at She also shares her tips and techniques for saving money at bestfreegrocery

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