Mommy Monday: Safety on the Internet

Reporter: {}Danner Evans l {}Videographer: {}Brian Whitesell

Lynchburg, VA - Often times we look to our own childhood experiences to figure out what to do when we become parents. But most of us don't have anything to draw from when it comes to Internet safety because we're still learning.

If you're looking for advice on safe places for your kids to surf, we have the answers in this Mommy Monday.

Russ Davidson is way more computer savvy at the age of 4 than his mother Emily was.

"It's a totally different world," said Davidson.

She embraces the computer as an educational tool but also keeps a close eye on where he's surfing.

"Normally, Sprout and Nick Jr. and there is a good site, Zoodles, where I can actually program what I want him to play. And I get weekly emails that let me know what he has played," said Davidson.

That's exactly what she should be doing according to Charley Butcher, education technology specialist at Lynchburg College.

"I think we need to have them on the computer," Butcher said. "It's a very important thing for them because everything is computer driven here."

However, there are definitely some sites that are much safer than others. Butcher said the best sites for your children stick to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.

"They're supposed to display that they are safe, for one. If you go online and read it there is stuff like parent notification is supposed to occur, parent verification has to occur," Butcher explained. "But with everything there is ways around that."

That's why Butcher suggested you go a step further. Pay the small price that goes along with a lot of the kid safe sites.

"If my children were to be on a social networking site I would choose to do one that has that $1 credit card fee because that makes it really hard to get around that parent verification," Butcher said. "To pay a dollar for them to be safe is well worth it for my money."

As Davidson's children continue to explore the Internet, that's a lesson she'll take seriously.

"Definitely," Davidson said. "That's definitely something we'll look at."

There are some COPPA compliant social networking sites for kids out there that we want to let you know about. Giant-Hello is for tweens and is very similar to the feel of Facebook. Kidsocial, KidzVuz, and Scuttlepad are too.