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NAN: Internet Safety

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While the Internet is a resource to many children, it also poses some risks. While much of the content on the Internet is appropriate for children, much of it is not. Nannies can help guide children to appropriate websites and to reduce the likelihood of them accessing inappropriate content while teaching them important Internet safety lessons.

One of the easiest ways to monitor Internet usage is to keep the computer in a common area of the home. When children are using electronic devices in the dining room or other high trafficked area, they may be less likely to intentionally explore inappropriate areas on the Web. Given the variety of portable devices that children have access to, however, this is easier said than done. To encourage Internet usage in common areas, nannies and parents can work together to establish electronic free zones so that Internet usage can be more easily monitored. 

Nannies and parents can also work together to develop a preapproved list of websites that the child has permission to visit and a preapproved list of apps and games that the child has permission to use. Software that blocks certain sites, apps or games or tracks sites that are visited can also be installed should parents want additional monitoring and/or content restrictions. 

While content can be risky, interactions with others on the Internet can also be risky. Nannies should talk with children about the potential risks of Internet use such as bullying, identify theft, invasion of privacy and people pretending to be someone else. Children should be taught to never give out personal information on the Internet. Teaching children not to share passwords, post photos without permission, agree to meet online friends without permission, or to purchase items online without permission can also help to keep them safe. Children should also be instructed not to send or respond to mean messages and to report any messages that make them feel uncomfortable to you or their parents. When it comes to choosing a screen name, children should be taught to choose screen names that don’t reflect their real name, age or location.

Since children can access the Internet and connect with others using a variety of devices, nannies must be knowledgeable about what Internet accessible devices the children have access to while in her care. Nannies should also be familiar with how to monitor those devices and with what social media applications are popular among the age ranges of the children in her care. Nannies should have ongoing discussions with the children in their care about appropriate Internet usage. 

As children grow, increasing their access to the Internet may be appropriate. For example, some schools provide iPads or other devices to children with the expectation that they be used at home. Nannies should have ongoing discussions about appropriate Internet usage and family Internet usage policies as the children’s need to access the Internet changes. Nannies should also be familiar with any school policies regarding technology usage at home and work together with parents to enforce them.

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Internet Safety