No Privacy for Children Using Information Highway
We have been discussing issues of privacy for nannies and au pairs, the parents that employ in-home caregivers, and nanny placement agencies.
Today we will discuss the dangers of the information highway and how caregivers can ensure that the use of the Internet by children is safe and fruitful. http://www.cfchildren.org/
Due to the overriding concern for safety, children should have no expectation for privacy for any activity on the Internet. Safe use of the Internet is a concern with increasing instances of cyber bullying, hate sites, sexual predators, and other dangers associated to surfing the Web.
The temptation is to ban usage to kids and teens. But the reality is that the Internet is an integral tool for homework and for social interaction. Parents and caregivers must learn of the threats to the children and educate kids, tweens, and teens about safe surfing practices.
INTERNET GUIDELINES WHEN WORKING WITH CHILDREN:
1. ONLINE RULES: It is the parents’ responsibility to establish Internet accounts in their name, activate the appropriate filters, install safety and monitoring software, and block objectionable sites. Parents must review with their children, nannies, and au pairs the amount of time children are allowed to spend online, the type of sites they may visit, and how to use the computer in ways that are fun, safe, and ethical.
2. PUBLIC PLACE: The computer should be placed in a public place in the house where children’s activity can be inspected. Adults should be alert for suspicious behavior by children such as quickly clicking off a site when an adult walks in the room. Nannies must know the children’s passwords, email addresses, and randomly check all correspondences.
3. DO NOT SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION: Caregivers must make sure the children are not divulging any personal or confidential information about their families on social networking sites without specific knowledge of the parents. Nannies should question children about all online activity and about any personal contacts made online.
4. NOTICE MOODS: Adults must be aware of any mood or behavioral changes experienced by children after being online. Caregivers should encourage children to discuss any disturbing events online.
5. BOOKMARK APPROPRIATE SITES: Nannies should encourage parents to bookmark sites that their children use frequently so that typos do not land children on an undesirable site.
6. BEWARE OF FALSE INFORMATION: Caregivers should make children aware that some sites contain false or misleading information, and that some sites are advertising made to appear as fact.
7. NEVER MEET ANYONE: Children should never agree to meet anyone met online without adult permission or without adult presence.
8. NO DOWNLOADING: They must not download any material, free or not, without the supervision of an adult.
9. NO POSTING PHOTOS: Children should not be allowed to upload any pictures of themselves or of their family without their parents’ permission.
10. CYBERBULLYING AND CYBERSTALKING: Some video games are violent and can lead to threats to children. Youngsters playing games on the computer cannot always distinguish between fantasy and reality. Nannies, au pairs, and parents must caution children about disputes arising from computer games. Nannies and au pairs should be alert to uncover instances of local cyberbullying and cyberstalking. The anonymity and ease of online communications can encourage users to email nasty and threatening remarks to someone who they would never disparage in person.
11. NO FLAMING: Even mild mannered children can become irate at someone online and then be tempted to get even with nasty, harsh threats. Kids seldom have the judgment to realize that what they perceive as deserved or as a prank call land them and the family in a lot of trouble. Counsel children to not react impulsively to remarks made online in anger.
Ample dangers exist when children enter the virtual worlds of web sites, instant messages, computer games, emails, cell phones, and emerging technologies.
Surfing the net is the foremost tool for accessing a world of knowledge and excitement and fun for children. As in every activity, nannies and au pairs help ensure the proper use and safety of the computer by children.
Have you had any issues with children using the Internet?