Integrating the Internet Into your Homeschool Lessons

The Internet is a powerful educational tool. But it's fraught with hazards and material inappropriate for children. Read on ot learn how to keep your children safe when they are using the Internet during your homeschool lessons.

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There are hundreds, if not thousands of websites designed specifically for students that help to teach and reinforce important English, math, science, and history skills.

However, the Internet also contains a lot of material that is inappropriate for elementary and middle school students. Parents often debate whether to grant their children access to the Internet because of the unsuitable information and content their children may stumble across.

Establishing Rules for Internet Safety

Emphasize to your child that you trust them and their actions but that there are dangers online that need to be taken seriously.

  • Don't meet in person anyone you met through the internet: plenty of children have been abducted or harmed when meeting people they have talked to on the Internet. Discuss this as a family.
  • Don't give out personal information online.
  • Parents should establish 'safe' sites. Make a list of sites that your child is allowed to visit. Let your child contribute to the list, but require them to get your permission before visiting any new sites or adding to the list.

Kids Only Web Areas

Internet providers, such as AOL, have special kids' areas with fun and educational activities for children to participate in. These 'Kids Only' areas also have monitored chat rooms that allow kids from all over the world to communicate with each other. If you allow your child to chat in these rooms, establish rules about acceptable chat topics.

Online Tutoring Centers

Online tutoring centers are another excellent, credible, and safe Internet resource for your child. Kids enjoy the online tutoring centers because they get to play games and complete interactive activities as they learn their lessons. The best online tutoring centers have been granted accreditation and have received awards from educational organizations and associations.

Parental Internet Filters

One way to ensure your child does not stumble across an adult Web site is to use an Internet filter. Software exists that allows parents to limit the type of content a child can access. Most K-12 schools, as well as public libraries, have also activated similar programs, so if your child is using a computer at one of these facilities, they should be safeguarded against most inappropriate material. Some Internet providers also have these filters built into their program.

Other Ways to Protect Your Kids Online

If you don't use an Internet filter there are other precautions you can take. Keeping the computer in a common area where the screen is in full view helps to eliminate the temptation for a child to go into a site they know is inappropriate. Additionally, parents can view their Internet log to see what websites have been visited. If you find your child has gone into a website that you don't like, it helps to talk with them about the site and explain why you do not want them to see it. Parents are also able to change the site that appears with your web browsers start-up screen. This is helpful because you can make your child's favorite site pop-up right from the start. If the website contains a lot of fun activities and materials for your child to explore, then that will keep them occupied so they won't be tempted to go to inappropriate sites.

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