Tips to protect the safety of children from the Internet and video games.
Last week The Telegraph published these practical tips for parents concerned about the safety of their children while surfing the Internet.
1) Don't panic… technology has never advanced so fast and it is inevitable that children will play increasingly sophisticated games and use the Internet more effectively. The most important thing to remember is that the web is a powerful tool for entertainment and education.
2)… but be practical: Of course there are dangers online, the same as at home or in real life. Make sure you know what pages they browse and why they like the video games they play. It is important that the computer or console is in a common space, such as the living room or kitchen, so that parents can see what the children are doing.
3) Encourage the effective use of technology ... today it is known that the use of computers and even video games is beneficial for the development of children. Not only will they need to know how to use technology when they grow up, but it also offers a relatively safe opportunity to develop coordination and even meet people.
4)… but make sure you understand it: Some video games teach children important skills, such as cooperation or patience, but others simply have to cut heads. The better parents understand what each of the games they play is about, the better they can guide their choices. In case you want to join a social network to chat with friends, try to get them to choose a specific network for children, like clubpenguin.com or the BBC's Adventure Rock online game, rather than others like Facebook or Myspace.
5) Use the built-in parental controls: Currently almost all browsers have effective parental controls.
6) Research special protection software: Several manufacturers sell software designed to limit what can be done on a computer, such as Cyberpatrol.com, which offers the ability to limit both the time and type of Web access. McAfee and Norton have their own versions.
7) And don't forget your cell phone: the latest models are almost pocket computers. Every day they are more able to access the Internet, record videos and take high-quality photos and play music. Try to promote responsible mobile use, as you would with the PC.
8) Protect the online identity of the child: make sure they are aware of how much personal information they provide and make public. Explain that they can use pseudonyms and that they should never provide too much information about themselves to strangers they meet online.
9) Remember that there is a real danger: the anonymity of the network enables numerous criminal activities and young people are exposed.
10) And finally: be realistic and remember that prohibiting does not work: the child will use the computers and consoles of the school and his friends. You have to take advantage of what is worthwhile and know what can be harmful and how to balance the risks to get the most out of the network.