Kids' safety online: Share your suggestions

Parents, do you know what your children are doing on the Internet? How do you keep them out of harm's way? Let us know; we'll recap your advice.

2 min read
In the online generation gap between kids and their parents, it's the youngsters who always seem to have the upper hand.

They're the ones for whom instant messaging, and IM lingo, are second nature. They're the ones who've come of age with MySpace.com, Facebook and the ever newer social-networking sites. YouTube would be a much lonelier place without them.

A lot of parents, meanwhile, haven't progressed much beyond TurboTax and e-mail.

So what's a grown-up to do when the younger generation seems almost fated by nature to be one step (or more) ahead? Do you, Mom and Dad, have a handle on what little Jack and Jacqueline are doing online and, just as important, how to deal with their activity?

CNET News.com would like to hear from you about the steps you take to keep your children safe online, to stay abreast of what they're doing and who they're chatting with.

We'd like you to post your stories, and your advice, to our TalkBack section at the end of this article. Then, in the near future, we'll summarize the replies and give a recap in another News.com story.

If recent studies are any indication, the advice will be well received. Elementary school children can spend nearly 4 hours a day online when not at school, and high school students can spend more than 5 hours, according to national education foundation Cable in the Classroom. Meanwhile, about one-third of parents surveyed by research firm Harris Interactive said they're not confident about how to teach their children to use the Internet safely and responsibly--even as virtually all said they've turned to Web content filters, monitoring software or advice from other adults.

And nongeeks take note: Even Microsoft's Bill Gates limits the time his daughter spends at the computer.