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Preparing Your Child for the Online World

Before you invest big bucks on the latest computer for your child, it is important to first understand the potential dangers that lurk there, and how to help keep your child safe from pornography, predators and other Internet dangers.

Prepare Your Child for the Real World and the Online World

When kids rip the wrapping paper off the box and a new computer emerges, it's all smiles.

But before you set up that new computer and head for the Web, parents and guardians should already have a plan for managing online access. Although the Internet provides tremendous access to educational resources for children, it also harbors lurking dangers, including sexual offenders who use the Internet to mask their identities and cultivate relationships directly with children.

Just as you teach your child how to confront dangers in the real world, you need to prepare them for life in the online world. You wouldn't think of letting your child rollerblade for the first time without safety pads, and you wouldn't dream of letting him or her give out your home phone number to someone they didn't know on the street.

Yet many parents and guardians set up a home computer without considering online safety basics. Keep your gift-giving memories happy and your child safer. In the sections that follow, you'll find practical steps and tips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

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