It is important to remember that “online” does not only refer to home computers. Laptops, cell phones, and gaming devices also provide the opportunity for children to access the Internet.

Some of these devices, especially cell phones, are mobile and can contain web browsers and cameras. Today, your child can quickly take a picture and immediately post it to the Web from anywhere. Laptops are also mobile and give children full access to the Internet from anywhere a mobile hotspot is available.

Gaming devices and gaming consoles also have web access and allow kids to chat and interact with people from all over the world. An iPod Touch can also give children access to the Internet and is no longer just a device to play music.

While the Internet provides a fascinating, new way to connect with the world, it also offers new risks:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Exposure to inappropriate material
  • Online predators
  • Revealing too much personal information

Learning to recognize the warning signs of these risks will allow trusted adults to intervene and lessen potential negative impacts. By acting as a resource, parents and guardians can help make the Internet a safer place for their families. As a parent or guardian, it is a good idea to stay well-informed about current issues to understand what your children are experiencing on and off the Internet. If they are social networking, instant messaging, using webcams, or blogging, help them use these tools safely by learning how to use them yourself.

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