In today's computer driven society, you hear a lot in the news about the dangers of online predators, and how children should never be left to browse the internet alone. This is good advice to follow for the most part, but there are some great websites for kids that are designed to provide children with a safe online environment.
HOME schooling websites are quickly growing on the internet. These sites offer a wide variety of great learning games, crafts, and ideas for parents to help out with their child's education. Your child does not have to be HOME schooled to use them. You can use the tools they offer to help your child prepare for kindergarten. Another great thing about these type of programs is they can be used to help a child that is having a difficult time keeping up with the rest of the class. It is important that if you do not want your children to have contact with anyone questionable then do not let them have email, or allow them to visit chat rooms and message boards while alone. If they are old enough to have email, it is a good idea to share an email account with them and monitor all incoming and outgoing email.
One of the best children's websites is Webkinz World. This is one of the more popular kids sites that you get free access to with the purchase of a Webkinz stuffed animal toy. The games and activities are educational and geared towards kids. The site does not have the typical style of chat room that online predators may take advantage of to talk to children. Instead the chat room has pre-written phrases that are used to communicate with other users. It is also heavily monitored to ensure another level of safety.
There are many websites out there that do not have the same high level of security. There are a few others that have plenty of great things for children to do, but some of these have a monthly fee. I know for my daughter there are about three websites for kids that I allow her to visit while playing on the computer. Often times she needs my help to get there, but that gives us the opportunity to spend a little bit of quality time together. I have checked over the sites she likes to visit, and I feel comfortable with them. The great part about the whole thing is that I know she is safe visiting these websites for kids, and she learns while she plays the games she loves so much. I understand that she's going to have to know all about computers and the internet, and I see no harm in starting her off young in hopes of teaching her how to safely use these tools.
If you want to find good websites for your children to visit then you should search for ones that have some sort of approval on them. There are internet safety organizations that scour the web for sites that provide a safe environment for kids, and when they locate them they give them they are given their seal of approval so that parents know it is a safe environment for their children to visit. If a site does not have any accreditation, it does not necessarily mean that it is not safe, but it does mean that you should look over it carefully on your own to see if you approve of it or not. Watch for chat rooms that are not heavily monitored. I would have the tendency to avoid any sites that have chat rooms when youngger children are concerned.