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Keeping Kids Safe Online

Posted by Matthew Greensmith at 8:05 AM on February 20, 2009

I know many of us are at an age where our kids are online. I’m a typical geeky parent; I have more computers than I have people in the house to use them. It’s been important to me that my kids stay safe online, and that takes some effort and watchfulness.

It also takes a good measure of educating my children against what can harm them online. As a homeschooling mom, I’m already their teacher, and I teach them about being safe online along with math, science, language arts, and social studies. And I also watch over their shoulders a lot, both virtually and in person.

Staysafeonline.org, an outreach of the National Cybersecurity Alliance, has stepped up their campaign to offer tools and resources not only to home users, but to schools, so that children can learn about the importance of cybersecurity from someone besides mom and dad, why may not be as tech savvy as they should be. Staysafeonline should be required reading for anyone getting a computer, or anyone who already has a computer, or who is thinking about getting a computer. The “home” section of the website covers things like assessing your security, what to look for, how to protect your kids, and who to report problems to. The K-12 section has plenty of activities for children, as well as having down-to-earth, non-techno-speak instructions for teachers on how to share cybersecurity issues with their students. There is also a section for higher education, and for small business.

I did some digging to be sure that the National Cybersecurity alliance is not being funded by a fringe organization. Turns out it is receiving money from the government and from some non-profit tech sectors, and their Board of Directors include representatives from Cisco, Symantec, and Microsoft. With this type of cooperation and corroboration, I am confident that their activities are above-board and intended to be useful. These days, you can never tell, with all of the hidden agendas we encounter throughout our cyber-travels.

I’m going to be making sure my parents read some of the home information at Staysafeonline.com, as well as passing it on to my brothers, who also have teens on the Internet.

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