Parenting in the Digital Age: Keeping Kids Safe Online

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

WAYNESBORO -- Living in the digital age means cellphones and gadgets galore, but even though this technology makes our lives easier, it can also worry some parents.

Mary Ann Hayden has a 10-year-old son and she's thinking about getting him a cellphone.

"He's starting to ask, but next year he goes to junior high, so that might be the time to start."

Time to start talking about the seriousness of him having access to the Internet all the time. One of her biggest concerns is picture messaging.

"Once you put a statement or picture out there it's out there for good."

Both her and her husband work with computers.

"He's learned a lot from both of us, and he's always getting online to do things."

The Haydens have a filter on their home computer, one similar to the public library.

Ryan Roy works as a technology professional with the Waynesboro Public Library.

"Will catch certain keywords that exist in websites and will filter out specific websites, so that if any of these terms pop up or certain websites pop up it will actually block them from coming through the web browsers," said Roy.

These filters are also available for smart phone web browsers.

"These would provide the same protection that you would a regular web filter that you would for a regular PC or a laptop. They would block Internet sites that are inappropriate, and maybe stop young kids from accessing inappropriate content."

Hayden wants to use one of those filters to make sure her son's phone is safe.

"I think when the time comes, we're going to start with that, and see how he does,” said Hayden, “Then eventually when he gets older, it's going to come off and hopefully by college we won't have to have anything on there."

Most cellphone service providers will disable certain functions, like picture messaging, upon request.

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