Websites for Online Learning
Experts agree that before you rely on parental controls and mobile apps to monitor your child online, start a dialogue and sit down with your child in front of the computer. "You need to get familiar with Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, and be aware of all of the cyberbullying policies on each of these sites, says Ryan Moreau, an Internet safety expert with Kiwi Commons (KiwiCommons.com).
"You can't protect your child if you don't see or understand the problem," says Fitzgerald. She recommends several sites run by Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy and security lawyer. WiredSafety.org offers online classes (for parents, children, teachers and school administrators, and law enforcement) about the risks children face and how to minimize them. Or learn about the four types of online bullies at NetBullies.com, which also offers a checklist for determining when your child needs help.
In addition, the Cyberbullying Research Center (Cyberbullying.us) features ten tips parents can follow for prevention. Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D., co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, recommends NetSmartz.org and StopBullying.gov (launched by the White House) to get parents more involved with the issue at school and in the community. Last year, PBS developed a special program with an online game, Webonauts Internet Academy (PBSKids.org/Webonauts), that families play together to learn about online safety.
To teach preschool children about online dangers Little Bird's Internet Security Adventure, a free downloadable e-book that's also available on the Kindle and the iPad, was written by AVG Technologies (AVG.com). At the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI.org), a Safety Contract that spells out online rules and expectations is even available for families to print and sign together.