Protecting Children Online

Virginia has become the first U.S. state to require Internet safety education in public schools, according to a report on National Public Radio today.

Officials at the Virginia Attorney General’s office told NPR that children often don’t realize they are at risk online, and parents don’t know enough to teach their children how to protect themselves online.

However, some other states, like North Carolina and Connecticut, don’t think education is enough and want social networking sites, hotbeds of illicit online activity, more closely regulated. One of the suggested measures to protect children would be something like online parental permission forms.

Security officials at MySpace, the most popular networking site, told NPR that additional hoops like permission forms would not work and could be easily forged. MySpace believes keeping kids safe online will result from a combination of education and improved safety features built into the Web site.

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