Parents learn to be computer sleuths - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Parents learn to be computer sleuths

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July 24, 2004

Albany-- Experts say a parent's lack of computer knowledge can be their biggest weakness in protecting  their children against dangers online. Saturday, some parents learned how to sharpen their computer skills and become Internet detectives in their own homes.

Catherine Solomon is learning how to be a computer sleuth. As a mother of two teens, with 4 computers in her home, she wants to find out what's going on behind locked doors.

"Well I have a teen and he is constantly in there with the door locked. I'm wondering what's going on in there and I know we have a computer in there," says Solomon.

A concern Kevin O'Lear often hears from parents. He's an instructor of the "Internet and your Child" safety class.

O'Lear teaches parents how to go inside their computer's files, hidden folders, and chat logs to check what a child is doing online.

"Predators are a major concern but to be able to find the predator you have to find where the children are going first," says O'Lear.

Experts say knowledge is key. But even if you're not computer savvy, there are ways to protect your child while they're on-line.

"If you put a computer in the living room the child has very limited access to be able to go to certain web sites because there are lot of people viewing them in the house," say O'Lear.

And as for Catherine Solomon, she plans to use her new found knowledge at home and if she discovers something that shouldn't be on her teen computer, she's going to crackdown on their usage.

"Not in my home, you wouldn't see it-- those will be my rules," says Solomon.

Rules she says every parent should have when it comes to children and the information

The next "Internet and your child safety class" will be Saturday at Darton College inside the J building from 9 - 12:30.

posted at 6:05PM by scott.hunter@walb.com