What’s good for kids on the Internet? …and what’s bad? I hear these kinds of questions frequently and this week I’ll address one caution and also tell you one place that I think is great, maybe “wonderful” for kids. Let’s start with one basic fact about kids and the Internet. There is no substitute for parental oversight! Children should not have access to the Internet without supervision. I recommend PCs and other Internet devices be used in a common room, family room or the like; not in a child’s room. I also urge you to have a serious talk with youngsters before they enter cyberspace. There is a good summary of dangers on the FBI’s Safety Tips for Kid’s page; and as the FBI reminds, dangers lurk at home and at school.
Now the caution I want to remind you of is about Facebook, potentially a very dangerous site; but when properly controlled and supervised, it can be fun and informative. An adult should supervise the setting of restrictions and access to a child’s Facebook page and you should stress that they not post anything, word or image that they would not want you to see. I recommend you have full access to all your child’s passwords and that you restrict their use any time you are denied access. You are not invading their privacy; but insuring their safety from predators and from immature postings on their part.
I don’t mean to be negative about Facebook because I use it to communicate with my grandchildren and others and I think it has a place, but it is at high risk for misuse and abuse.
Now to a Web experience that I heartily endorse. When I said it might be wonderful, that was a play on words. The actual Website is “Wonderopolis.org” a place where “the wonders of learning never cease”. Each day focuses on a question that kids might ask. The question for Dec 15 was, “Why do hermit crabs live in borrowed shells?” Each lesson describes a wonder and prior studies are categorized so that a child could go back and study all the ones about “Animals” for example. Archived “Technology” questions include “Is a computer bug an insect?”, “How do you build a tunnel underwater?” and “How does 3D work?” Answers are interesting and complete and even an adult might gain some knowledge from them.
Wonderopolis is brought to us by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and is designed to nurture a child’s natural curiosity, creativity and imagination. It’s education for kids that’s like fun! “Wonders of the Day” are chosen to represent real life situations and puzzlements that might confront any child. Here’s a place where children can learn and smile in a safe environment. By the way. “Do potatoes see with their eyes?” Does anyone know “Can wooly worms predict the weather?”
Give Wonderopolis a try with your little ones and till next week, send your questions to: