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The preteen years are a time of rapid change in kids' lives. Although at this age kids are still quite dependent on their families, they want more independence.
Kids who are 9-12 years old also start to take an interest in the world around them, and relationships with friends become more important.
 
What 9-12 year olds do online

Kids in this age group use the Internet to research school projects. They also download music, use e-mail, play online games, and vote for their favorite celebrities on fan sites. Their preferred way to communicate with friends is by instant messaging (IM).

Safety tips
Here are some safety tips to consider as you guide your 9-12 year olds online:
Create a list of Internet house rules with input from your kids.
Keep Internet-connected computers in an open area and out of your kids' bedrooms.
Investigate Internet-filtering tools (such as MSN Premium's Parental Controls) as a complement—not a replacement—for parental supervision.
Talk with your kids about their online friends and activities just as you would about their other activities.
Insist that your kids never agree to meet an online friend.
Allow your kids to use only monitored chat rooms on reputable kids' sites.
Teach your kids to never give out personal information when using e-mail, chat rooms, or instant messaging, filling out registration forms and personal profiles, and entering online contests.
Teach your kids not to download programs without your permission—they might unknowingly download spyware or a computer virus. Also teach your kids that file-sharing and taking text, images, or artwork from the Web may infringe on copyright laws.
Consider giving your child a limited user account to help keep them from participating in activities without your knowledge.
Encourage your kids to tell you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and remind your kids they are not in trouble for bringing something to your attention. Praise their behavior and encourage them to come to you again if the same thing happens. Read more about how to deal with online predators and cyberbullies.
Talk to your kids about online pornography and direct them to good sites about health and sexuality.
Insist on access to your kids' e-mail and instant messaging accounts to make sure they're not talking to strangers.
Talk to your kids about responsible, ethical, online behavior. They should not be using the Internet to spread gossip, bully, or make threats against others
 
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SAFETY TIPS BY AGE
Ages 2 to 4
Ages 5 to 6
Ages 7 to 8
Ages 9 to 12
Ages 13 to 17
A parent's guide to online safety Ages and stages
RELATED LINKS
4 ways to help your kids avoid pirating online files
10 things you can teach kids to improve their Web safety
12 safety tips on blogging for parents and kids
Help kids deal with hateful content on the Internet
How to help your kids use social networking Web sites more safely
Improve your family web security in 4 steps
Using family contracts to help protect your kids online
 
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