A whole new exciting world

Children view new media, particularly the Internet, as an entertaining and exciting new 'cyber' world. However, some parents, police and children's groups are concerned at the ease with which children can find inappropriate material on-line. On the Internet there is no system of classification or age restriction that is enforceable.

This guide aims to assist parents and caregivers who want to know how to help children enjoy and make use of the new media, while protecting them from its harmful elements. You are welcome to download this Safety guide, to print, republish and distribute it to parents and other caregivers, and anyone else you think could make use of its contents.

What is this cyber world?
The new on-line world, or new media, involves the use of information technology (computers) to communicate, get information and play games. It is known as multimedia. Multimedia is a combination of information such as ................

presented as a World Wide Web page on the Internet, on CD-ROM, or on the Hard Disk Drive of the computer being used.

What is a CD-ROM?
A CD-ROM (meaning - Compact Disk - Read Only Memory) looks just like an audio compact disk. Many CD-ROMs carry computer games but they can also hold vast amounts of information, e.g. an entire set of encyclopaedia. CD-ROMs are replacing floppy disks as they hold much more information, including video and music and pictures.  Most software or programs now com on CD-ROM and most modern Personal Computers have a CD-ROM drive.

What is interactivity?
Simple multimedia programs can be a passive experience just like reading a book. Interactivity is like a two-way conversation with the computer. Introducing an interactive element allows users to become involved by making choices using the keyboard or a mouse, about what they want to see or what they want the computer program to do. The computer can ask users questions and they are able to answer. The computer comes to life with pictures, music and sound effects. The Internet uses multimedia and interactivity extensively.

What is the Internet?
The Internet is a massive, international network of computers. Each linked computer can provide information or data. Information can take the form of a computer program, a single document, a picture or a video clip - even the latest news and weather. It is all information. Viewing this information over the Internet is often called "surfing" or "cyber cruising". To link to the Internet you need a computer, a modem and a telephone line. Just as there is a book or magazine on nearly every subject available in your local library, bookshop or newsagent, so is there information on virtually every subject now on the Internet.   Anyone with access to the Internet and the know how can publish anything they wish to from Family Home pages, Business sites and even protest sites or any other less savoury or inappropriate material.

Who uses the Internet?
Almost half (47%) of all Australian households (just over 3.2 million households) had a home computer in May 1999, and over 22% of all households (or 1.5 million households) had home Internet access. In the 12 months to May 1999, nearly 5.5 million adults (40% of Australia's adult population) accessed the Internet. At May 1999, 18-24 year olds had the highest level of Internet use (74%).
At May 1999, 36% of households of the family type, 'couple with children' had home Internet access. Households of this type accounted for 55% of Internet households at May 1999. Just over 16% of households of the type 'couple with no children' had home Internet access and 13% of households of the type 'single parent' were connected to the Internet.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Use of Internet by Householders May 1999 (Cat. No. 8147.0)

The various elements of the Internet include:

E-mail -
Electronic mail allows letters or notes along with computer files of information to be sent anywhere in the world almost instantaneously, often for the cost of a local call, to anyone else with an email address.

World Wide Web (www) -
The Web has quickly become the most popular part of the Internet. It involves a series of computers connected to the Internet providing various forms of information. This is where multimedia comes into play as the Web is designed to allow sharing of pictures, sound and text. All the elements of multimedia can be incorporated into an information page called a Web page or set of pages called a site, and made accessible to anyone in the world, on the Internet. Web sites can be created by individuals or groups, including commercial companies, government departments, educational institutions and community organisations.

Chat Lines - Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
sessions are open discussion groups on the Internet. You can have discussion groups by topic or location. Chat lines allow you to openly discuss issues with people all over the world. Some chat lines are monitored, ensuring decent language and conduct is maintained.

New media and children's education
Information technology is now a significant part of the curriculum in most schools. Many have a computer room and Internet access. Employers require computer literacy and the various State Education Departments have taken an active approach to providing children and teenagers with these skills. Educational software is one of the biggest software markets, offering programs and CD-ROMs aimed at helping children. Early childhood learning experts have collaborated with multimedia creators to develop many well-designed and inspiring CD-ROMs on a range of educational and entertainment topics, and computer basics such as how to control the mouse.

Cyber safety at home
Most schools have information technology rules which protect children well. Supervision is the most effective policy. In the home, however, parents can't always supervise every second their child is on line. Use of blocking or filtering software is a good idea, although it should not be seen as the whole answer to the problem.   If you wouldn't let you child play all night in a local playground on their own then niether shoul;d you allow a young child to 'surf-the-net' alone.   It can be just as dangerous and they need your wisdom to help them recognise dangers.

Blocking software
Parents can install software on home computers to screen out information they feel is unsuitable for children, such as violent or sexually explicit material, information on criminal activities such as drug abuse and paedophilia, and commercial Web sites which invade children's privacy by seeking personal information.   Australian Law now ..................................

Other Related Web Sites.
(LINKS CHECKED ON 12/1/2003)
Web-site Blocking Software


Privacy of personal e-mail addresses on the Internet is important these days.  It is important for both safety and privacy reasons and as senders of email we should ALL respect the privacy of our friends and acquaintances to whom we send email.

If you send an email to several people at the same time and you include their names and e-mail address in the Copy 'Cc:' field, everyone who receives that email will be able to easily see and then know everyone's email address.  You have effectively broadcast these email addresses to many other people.
I have received a forward of a forwarded email with hundreds of email addresses easily available which can be sold to spam dealers.
So what!   Well it means that by doing this we have breached the privacy of everyone we end e-mail to.  Privacy means that we don't make any private details (including e-mail addresses) of other people available to any other person without first obtaining permission, and this is one of the basic 'rights' every Internet user should enjoy.
What you can do, is when you have an e-mail to send out to many people, send it to yourself by placing your email address in the ' To:' field and then place all the other e-mail addresses in the BLIND COPY 'Bcc:' field.
This way your e-mail still gets to where you are sending it, they still know you sent it but the difference is they won't know to whom else you have sent it.

Just a matter of Internet courtesy

Enjoy your computer.

Charlie Tredrea

Copyright ©  1997 - 2007  Charlie Tredrea ** all rights reserved

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