Thursday, March 22, 2012

USENET for Families

USENET can be a tremendous educational resource. There's a great deal of information out there about the perceived dangers to kids that USENET poses and, unfortunately, that gives people the absolute wrong impression about this service. There are some basic guidelines to using that parents need to follow to ensure the safety of their children, but they're not really any different than the sensible rules that parents follow when they're helping their kids learn to use the Internet. Here are some things to remember.

1. Family Activities Should Be Done Together

You should no more let a young child onto the USENET unsupervised than you'd let a young child out on the streets unsupervised. This is basic common sense. The USENET, like every other computer network, does have its hazards. Making the USENET a family activity is the best way to make sure it doesn't become a problem.

2. Dangers Tend to Be Exaggerated

Remember that sensational information tends to be repeated over and over again, particular on the Internet. You'll also want to keep in mind that many of the people that write about the dangers of this or that technology have no qualifications to be writing or reporting about it beyond being easily frightened by urban legends. If you take a look at some of the science and art newsgroups, you'll soon see that the majority of participants are normal folks and that quite a few of them are highly qualified people who like serious and enlightening conversations.

3. It's a Great Forum for Exploring Interests

Those aforementioned experts can be great resources for learning about some pretty complex topics. If you and your family are taking up a new hobby, such as exploring the natural world, literature or astronomy, you'll find plenty of newsgroups available to help you get the most out of your endeavors.

If your kids have access the computer when you're not around, then you might want to get software that allows you to control which programs can be run on the computer. The USENET system itself, however, is generally a very safe and enjoyable way to network online and to get solid information about a variety of topics. If you're interested in getting a subscription to it, there are plenty of providers and most of them will let you give it a try for free. This makes it a no-risk proposition and allows you to choose the provider that's best for you.

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