Children's Health Issues to Watch: Drawing the Line Online

Drawing the Line Online

Kids and teens face an abundance of opportunities to connect with one another and explore the world through the Internet, cell phones, social networking sites, instant messaging, and email. And adults are carefully watching the benefits and the risks that go along with that.

Teens are firmly entrenched in the electronic world: 20% say their favorite way of staying in touch with friends is by instant messaging (IM) or email; 75% have an online profile on a social networking site such as Myspace or Xanga, and roughly one third of teens said in a recent survey they have friends they've never met in person and only talk to online. Parents are grappling with how to make sure their kids get the benefits that come from exploring these new frontiers without exposing them to risks like Internet predators, pornography, cyberbullying, unsafe disclosure of personal information, and too much screen time.

What to Watch:

As online opportunities for kids proliferate, so do the resources for parents to keep kids safe. Industry, health care groups, and federal agencies are stepping up their campaigns to monitor and guard kids' electronic activities. Parents who are comfortable with technology have a growing arsenal of tools available to monitor kids online ― from tracking their keystrokes to reading their email ― and will need to balance how much privacy to give their children with the supervision kids need to stay safe. Many parents will confront a growing technological divide between themselves and kids who, from a very young age, are more technologically savvy than any generation before.

For Kids:

Safe Cyberspace Surfing

For Teens:

Internet Safety: Safe Surfing Tips for Teens

For Parents:

Internet Safety
Healthy Habits for the TV, Video Games, and the Internet

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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