To the list of milestones that mark a child's growth – first steps, first words, first dates – the digital age has added many more. But those new high-tech landmarks for kids – first e-mail addresses, social networking accounts and gadgets – mean new challenges for parents.
For toddlers, teenagers and kids of all ages in between, online opportunities for education and entertainment are unlimited. But so are possibilities for privacy breaches, tarnished reputations, cybercrime and more.
ABCNews.com spoke to online safety experts about potential Internet hazards and tips for parents. Here's what they had to say:
A child's digital universe is constantly expanding. Experts say the best way to help them navigate it is to travel it with them.
"As a parent, I would focus on understanding exactly what my teen is doing and I would make sure I understand the technology that they're using and the sites they're visiting and then I would make sure they're following the appropriate safeguards for that environment," said Joe Sullivan, chief security officer for Facebook.
Software exists that lets parents monitor the sites their children visit and even keep up with the e-mail messages they send and receive. But Sullivan encourages parents to learn about their kids' online activities by asking them for advice.
"I think that the parent who asks the teen, 'Will you help me set up a Facebook account so that I can use Facebook?' is going to have a really rewarding dialogue with their teen," he said. Not only will it let the child show off what he knows about online computing, it's likely that the child will show the parent his own Facebook page and how he uses the site, he said.
Caroline Knorr, parenting editor for Common Sense Media, said it's important for parents to realize that the computer is just the beginning.
Mobile applications let them check in with friends via cell phone. Chat rooms invite conversation through the Nintendo DSi handheld gaming console.
"There are just so many ways kids can go online and interact with people," she said.
Keeping up with technology can be taxing, but if kids are picking it up, experts say, so should their parents.
You wouldn't put your kids on a bike or in a car seat without doing your due diligence and making sure it was up to date and functioning.
"You need to do that same type of analysis around the actual equipment they use online," said Sullivan.
Many of the vulnerabilities that can lead to spam and phishing attacks come from outdated Web browsers and software, he said.
It's a foolproof principle offline, so why not bring it online?
Behind a detached computer screen, it can be tempting to make comments or post pictures you might not circulate in real live company.
But, whether it applies to online bullying or disclosing information about other people, experts urge parents to invoke the golden rule: if you wouldn't want it done to you, don't do it to someone else.