University of Illinois Extension

Keeping Children Safe as They Use the Internet

Carol Wilcoxen, Family Life Educator

The summer months are a great time to learn new things. And, the Internet can help make learning fun - for you and for the grandkids.

But since no group or agency oversees the Internet, adults must be the gatekeepers. You don't have to be an Internet expert to protect your grandchildren. Some basic knowledge about Internet sites and general household guidelines about computer use can go a long way toward making the Internet a fun and safe way to explore.

The last part (extension) of a web address tells you where you are and what you can expect from the site.

  • .com means it is a commercial website, and that its name is bought for use
  • .gov means it is a government site
  • .edu means it is an educational site
  • .org means it is an organization's website; it may be not-for-profit
  • .net means it is a network website

Follow these tips to safely get the best use from your computer and the Internet.

  • Keep the computer in a public area of the house.
  • Do not allow your grandkids to use the computer to just pass or occupy time.
  • Know how to use the services that the younger members of the household will be using.
  • Focus on the excitement of learning and discovery.
  • Together, set Internet and computer rules that will be followed by all users.
  • Teach your grandkids not to give personal information about themselves (name, address, school, phone number, financial information) on the Internet.
  • Monitor your grandchildren as they use the Internet, even if the computer is being used at a public place like a library.