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BREAKING NEWS

Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Apr 17, 2008

It’s a big, big world out there, and it’s gotten a whole lot bigger over the last 15 years or so.

That’s about when the Internet became a household word. Since then, millions of users of all ages have taken up on-line surfing as their major pastime.

It wasn’t that terribly long ago that Marshall McLuhan warned that television was shaping (or perhaps warping would be a better term) young minds. “The medium is the message,” McLuhan told us. Another way of putting it was, “turn on, tune in, and drop out.”

While no contemporary media analyst has stepped forward to prognosticate how the Internet is shaping the young minds of today to the extent that McLuhan did two generations ago, Robin Raskin is coming pretty close. She presented some words of wisdom for parents in her talk, “Raising Kids in a Digital World”, Tuesday night during the fourth annual Family Resource Fair and Fun Night at the Regional Wellness Center.

In her presentation, Raskin offered some good tips for parents:

n Put computers in a well-trafficked areas.

n Have an open door policy.

n Search history files on the computer your children use.

n Be a “pain”, or let your children know that you’re looking over their shoulder when they’re using the computer.

n Protect and defend your children from Internet predators.

n Tell your children that “we all make mistakes” and that if something inappropriate does occur with their Internet usage, it’s a lesson for the future.

n Let your children know they can turn to you if they have an problem on-line.

The important thing is that parents do not dismiss Internet predators as “cyber voyeurs”. By watching chat rooms and asking seemingly innocent questions, Internet predators can figure out exactly where your child lives, putting not only your child but your entire family at risk.

So be sure you know how your child is using the Internet. Is he or she posting a photo? If so, can you control who sees it? Is it a provocative photo?

Being a “cyber sleuth” when it comes to your children’s Internet usage isn’t being a pain. It’s being a good parent.

So be as sneaky as you can possibly be. Eventually, your kids will thank you for it.