This week's MommaJam podcast and live radio feature on 95.9 WATD-FM is about Internet security in the home and an interview with Monica Vila, the founder of TheOnlineMom.com, a great daily tech resource for parents. The biggest online threat facing younger kids today is "accidental access" to Rated X and Rated R images and video. It is incredibly easy for kids to just click into a site they should not see or hear.
The best way to combat this is to set up parental controls on your computer. Two solutions that I have checked out are Verizon's Internet Security Suite (starts at $5.99) and Symantec's Norton Online Family (free). Kids who can type words, but may misspell them, should be monitored closely - another reason to keep family computers in a common area in the home.
Parents should also be know how to select age-appropriate video games based on the Entertainment Software Rating Board's (ESRB) video game rating system, which helps you set guidelines for kids. For example, Rated T video games contain violence and language young kids don't need to be exposed to at the moment. I have to constantly explain to my young boys why they can't play Rated T games, which they know about because their friends have older siblings. I am glad they ask about the games because it opens up a dialogue about what is out the world beyond their small, secure bubble. We then talk about how fun Rated E and Rated E10 games are and why they are perfect for our family right now.
Cyber bullying is another important cyber topic that parents should be up on in today's wired world. Cyber bullying is a real and serious issue. You need to monitor kids to make sure they are not the bullies and treat the problem like any bullying issue. Monica Vila has great articles discussing this topic and much more to help parents navigate through our fast-changing technology-driven society.
To hear my full podcast interview with Monica Vila, TheOnlineMom, and the MommaJam Minute on 95.9 WATD-FM, go to MommaJam.com.
And, let me know how you are doing with kids and computers in your home