Posted: Jan 22, 2013 11:00 AM
 
Let’s face it: Our kids will be online and they’ll be online much earlier than we were. Discover what moms worry about when it comes to kids using the computer to access the internet.

Chances are you've come across questionable content online. Maybe you've had an argument or made a bad decision influenced by the internet. How do you shield your children from the more destructive elements of modern digital life? Learn what other moms worry about and how you can protect your kids.

Fear 1: Being exposed to inappropriate content

45 percent were concerned about children being exposed to inappropriate content.

When we surveyed real moms, 45 percent were concerned about children being exposed to inappropriate content. With pornography more and more accessible, this is a legitimate fear. Even seemingly innocent content, such as video game walkthroughs, can be littered with profanity. How do parents shield kids? The truth is, they cannot completely protect them. Be wise and use a combination of parental supervision and parental controls. However, be prepared to have serious talks with your kids about issues they may be exposed to.

Fear 2: Decreased physical activity

21 percent of respondents were most concerned about decreased physical activity.

If your child is tucked in front of the screen playing Minecraft for hours, how will he get enough exercise? In this age of childhood obesity and digital living, it's a valid concern. Twenty-one percent of respondents were most concerned about decreased physical activity. To combat this issue, limit the time your children are allowed to play online. Enroll them in sports and other physical activities and encourage balance in all things. Recreational computer time should be a reward, not a given.

Fear 3: Decreased face-to-face interaction with peers

19 percent worried about kids spending more time with online friends than real life friends.

Out of the parents we surveyed, 19 percent worried about kids spending more time with online friends than real life friends. While this may be concerning, keep in mind that kids often use the internet to talk to the same friends they see at school and during social activities. As long as your child is spending time with friends, try not to be concerned that she'll become sucked into an online life. With this in mind, keep an open dialogue with your children about who they're talking to. Be aware that not everyone is telling the truth online. Your children should not be developing serious friendships or relationships with people who only communicate under an online handle.

Fear 4: Revealing too much private information

15 percent of survey respondents worry about kids oversharing online.

Is your child on Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter? If so, what measures are you taking to prevent your child from revealing personal information? Fifteen percent of survey respondents worry about kids oversharing online. Your children should never make strangers or the general public aware of information such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, school locations or other identifying facts. Before your child is allowed access to social networking sites, have a serious talk about limitations and safety. Be sure that your child understands that a seemingly innocent tweet or status update can reveal dangerous information. Every interaction should be thoughtful.

More online safety tips for kids

Are you too tech-savvy for your child's safety?
Online safety for tweens and teens
Should your tween be on Facebook?

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Sherri Kuhn January 24, 2013
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I know I spend so much time online that it's hard to remember it's not a good way for my kids to spend their days. Things sure have changed since I was a teen!