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I do a decent amount with the internet. But, it really is a newer experience. I can't guess how hard it must be for parents who have no personal exposure to what their children are able to get into.

The boys are at the age where they are gaining friends in internet games and doing a limited amount of texting. I have done my best to keep a constant eye out and to ask about their activities daily.

I reviewed a pamphlet for a group called "netsmartz" and went to their website. A lot of very helpful information about dealing with some of the every-changing issues that come with internet access.

The pamphlet I received was concerned the meanings behind texting abbreviations. It had a quiz, a list of definitions, and a lot of very helpful tips.

Here were some of the tips I found helpful:

  • Check your child’s friend lists to see who has access to his or her profile. Make sure your child knows all friends in person.
  • Teach your child to set profiles to private–but be aware that privacy settings do not guarantee complete privacy.
  • Have your child remove any inappropriate content and photos and delete any personal information.
  • Check the profiles of your child’s friends to see if there is revealing information or photos about your child.
  • Report inappropriate or criminal behavior to the appropriate authority. Most sites have a reporting mechanism for non-criminal behavior. Criminal behavior should be reported through law-enforcement agencies and the CyberTipline® at

There is a lot of information out there and the better job parents do of watching and communicating with their children, the safer they will be.

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