PROTECTING MINORS

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Whatever it's called, millions of people are now going online to exchange electronic mail, surf the World Wide Web, post and read messages in newsgroups (sometimes called bulletin boards), and participate in chat groups and many other online activities.

There are a number of ways to get online. In addition to major commercial online services, there are thousands of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide Internet access usually for a monthly fee.

ISPs and online services generally do everything they can to provide their subscribers with an enjoyable, safe, and rewarding online experience, but it's not possible for these companies to police everyone who uses their service anymore than a local government can control the behavior of its citizens. Besides, once you're connected to the Internet, you're able to exchange information with people who are signed on with other ISPs and online services. The Internet is a vast global network of networks that's not governed by any company or government.

Anyone in the world - companies, governments, organizations, and individuals - can publish material on the Internet. An ISP links you to these sites, but it can't control what is on them. It's up to individuals to make sure that they behave in a way that's safe and appropriate.

Most young children often stumble across sensitive online material but there are ways of avoiding this. Below are a few helpful links to help you learn more on how to protect young children from harmful material on the Internet.

  • GetNetwise: Educating parents and children about how to use the Internet safely
  • KidShield: Tools and information to create a safety net for your children online
  • SafeKids.com: Making your family's online experience fun and productive