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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Knowing Your Child

All kids are different. And that's not just from family to family. How many times have you remarked, or heard other parents remark, that their own children could not be more different from one another? One child learns fast, wants to try every new toy or gadget that's put on front of them; is more adventurous and independent - willing to wander off and explore, in both the online and offline worlds! Another child is far more cautious; happy to let others take the first step, wouldn't dream of wandering off on their own, and is more than happy to play within a parent-imposed set of rules.

With kids as different as these, and every imaginable personality in between, it's impossible to develop a one-size-fits-all approach for parents to navigate the new and ever-expanding digital world that their children now face.

Instead, The Online Mom offers a series of guidelines for parents to think about and adapt to suit their individual children. With some 8 year-olds, you can sit them in front of the family computer, bring up Club Penguin or Noggin and happily leave them alone knowing that they won't stray from their designated site. Other kids will spend 5 minutes with the Penguins before they notice the Google icon and start wondering what will happen if they click on that. Or maybe if they typed in ClubAdult instead of ClubPenguin they might get something more interesting!

At the end of the day, no-one knows their kids better than their parents. (Maybe some teachers might claim otherwise but we don't buy it!) And it's going to be the parents that will know what support and restrictions their children need as they navigate the latest technology and the web. And this doesn't just apply to 8 year-olds. The gadgets and the web activity might be different but the same personality traits govern your child's approach, whether they are 5 or 15.

So Get in the Game - get to know technology and the web - but make sure the game is the one that your child plays!

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