Keeping your Children Safe at Home and Away From Online Predators
Keeping your children safe at home is more and more difficult today with cyber child predators and Internet net crime even sexual stalkers online. Learn steps that can easily be done to communicate with children the dangers of the internet and prevent online predators from entering your home…
There are lots of people who find that their children are safe once they are
home, however, you will find that they aren’t. Today, there are new ways for
the harm to get into your home and the personal computer is just one of the
ways. You will find that there are people who will try to get young teens
away from home so that they can meet and take them away from their family
Many of these online predators are people who have had previous sexual
criminal behavior. You will want to keep in mind that there are local sex
offenders in your area, and you can find them when you go online. They are
required to sign on with the local police under Meagan’s law. The police will
counsel them, but you will want to think about all of those who live in the
area that have not been convicted, but still pry on the young. Before you
even begin to show the family the benefits of the net, you need to educate
them on the harm of the net.
You can’t protect your children from all of the dangers of the world, but you
will find that if you just take the time to set down with them and talk to
them about all the dangers of the net, then you will be able to feel
unassailable when they are online.
You will not only want to talk to your children about the predators that are
online, but you will also want to talk to your children about some of the
things that they are known to do. Tell them about how harmful the predators
can be and how they can affect you. Make sure that you take inconsideration
how they work too.
These people will try to make and so on trust them very quickly and that is
why you will not want to have your guard down. You have to also tell them
that they should not talk to strangers because you never know what will come
from being that open. You will want to protect your family before there is
any harm. You will want to make sure that you take inconsideration of where
the computer is too.
You will want to have the computer in a room that everyone can go into. This
is because it will not give your teens or young children privacy. They will
not be able to talk to and on and on without your data base. Also, when it
comes to instant messages, you will want to make sure that there is a sound
alert when someone sends one and that your speaker is turned up so that when
you aren’t in the room, that you are able to hear what they are doing. Then
you will want to poke your head in every now and then to see the topic of
You will find that there are many dangers in the world, but you will also
want to think about all the dangers of your home. It is not just the cleaning
products could be harmful to your family, but your children could be at risk
when it comes to the use of the Internet. You do not want to have a predator
come in your home and you need to take some steps on how you can keep them
away from your child.
The first step is that you need to talk to your child. Tell them about the
dangers of outsiders online and offline. You do not want to have your child
to trust someone so much that they give out the personal information. Tell
them that you will monitor the emails and txt messages that are received for
their own good and not because you don’t trust your child. You will want to
tell your child that it is your job to keep them safe from strangers and the
dangers that the internet brings into your home.
Secondly, you will want to keep your word. You will want to block all sites
that your child may run into that you would not want them to see. You can do
this by getting parental software or through the tools of your National
information infrastructure services. You will also want to get monitoring
software so that you know exactly what your child is doing and when.
Then you will want to be active in their life. You will notice that most
teens that go missing or put themselves at risk is considering they are
looking for attention and affection. If you simply take the time to make your
child feel important and wanted, then you will be able to make a difference
in the way that your child feels and they will not dare try to connect with
In addition, as a parent, you have a right to know what they are doing. You
will want to place the PC in a room that you can come in and out of. Also,
when you pass the microcomputer, try to scan the words on the screen so that
you know exactly what they are looking up and then look at the status bar and
see what applications are open and the titles of such applications, so that
you can see what they are legitimately doing.
These are just a few suggestions. You may want to take things a step further
and make the net something that is restricted seriously. You will want to
make sure that you take the time to keep the predators out of your home. You
may find that all you have to do is show some interest in your child and they
will never have a reason to turn to these online predators for attention and
Social networking has become increasingly popular and websites like Myspace have thrived with adolescents and teens. While pedophiles may be the minority on these sites, the threat of having a pedophile enter your home, under the guise of being someone their not, is just too big of a threat to ignore.
It may seem harmless enough, at first glance. I mean, what do other web surfers really know about your child? They might even live half a world away. How could they possibly harm your child? Perhaps you might even see the educational value of your child interacting with individuals from other cultures and understanding the global nature of today’s world, but consider this…
Children online don’t feel that these “friends” are strangers. They “chat” with them daily. These people, who parents consider strangers, are their friends. They understand what the child is going through and they listen in ways the parents never seem to. The recent riveting testimony of a young boy that was drawn into online pornography at the age of 13, should be a wake up call to all parents. Computers and the Internet can be far more dangerous than most parents ever imagine. The likelihood of a child online will encounter strangers is far higher than a stranger wandering into their backyard.
Parents warn their children about strangers as they grow up, perhaps its time to redefine the term stranger. Consider the following to protect your child, adolescent, or teenager while online.
Do not allow your children to use a webcam unsupervised. Children will often forget that the webcams are there or even worse, what may seem harmless online flirting might result in unwarranted or undesired attention from an anonymous predator. Additionally, webcams have been tied to home robberies where burglars viewed items of interest through a webcam. A little online digging resulted in the home address, and items were then stolen.
2. Common Area.
In spite of an adolescents or a teenagers need for privacy, it is best to keep the computer in a family common area. It might be helpful to explain to your child why it is important that computers be out in the open. Children should understand that using a computer is not a right, is a privilege. Parents can and should supervise online activity.
3. Personal Information.
Personal information is just that, personal, and should not be shared by children. As easy as that is to say, sometimes children are often confused as to what constitutes personal information. Educating children about what personal information is, is just as important as educating them as telling them not to share. Children need to understand that just because someone asks for personal information doesn’t mean you have to tell them.
What is personal information? Knowing not to share your location, name, age, address, phone number, town, password, and schedule might seem obvious to children, but what many don’t realize is that predators will often piece together various bits of information. A predator will aggregate data to determine a child’s location or true identity. Predators are able to use IP tracking and the location of an online web provider that you use might assist them in narrowing down a location. Information related to sports events or scheduled concerts will further allow a predator to ascertain a child’s location and personal information.
Provide adolescents and teenagers these tips in determining what information is appropriate or inappropriate to share. Tell them to ask themselves how the predator can use the requested information? Is it necessary for them to have that information? Why?
4. Crossing the Bounds.
It is easy to explain to a child that a stranger is someone they don’t know in the real world, but online the definition becomes blurred. Is a friend of a friend online, a stranger? If you have communicated X number of times with someone, are they still a stranger? Assist your children in drawing lines about who is appropriate to communicate with, and who is not.
When talking to children about surfing online, it is important to be honest with them. Children have to understand the dangers, but should not live in fear. Balancing candor and fear might be tricky, but you know your child best and keeping it real will help them navigate and how to stay safe online.
Trust online is a funny thing, just because someone says something is true does not mean that it is. Bloggers and online wikis are dealing with credibility issues, yet individuals are often trusted until proven untrustworthy.
7. Identifying Information.
Instruct your child NEVER to share any identifying information that includes phone numbers and addresses. And finally ,consider how non-anonymous the web really is http://www.small-business-software.net/anonymity-of-internet.htm .
Children should not swap photos online. Exchanging photos is unnecessary and puts children at a higher level of risk. Additionally digital photographs can easily be edited by a third party. An explicit online photo can haunt a child for a lifetime.
Children should not complete profiles in blogging software or social networks, like MySpace The profiles or hobbies can often raise the interest of unwanted admirers.
10. Questionnaires/ Surveys.
Children should not complete questionnaires or surveys online. The information requested may appear harmless, but you do not know how the information will be used, it is good practice to avoid completing any questionnaires or surveys.
It of course goes without saying that children should not meet any individual that they converse with online.
12. Chat Rooms.
Chat rooms are playgrounds for sexual predators. The chat room owners have no method to detect a lurking predator from a child. As a result it is just a good practice to restrict access to chat rooms.
13. Instant Messaging.
Adolescents and teenagers often want to communicate, whether on the phone or via the Internet. Instant messaging is a popular phenomenon for children. If you allow your child to communicate using instant messaging, be sure to block instant messaging from anyone unknown. Additionally, spot check their buddy list to make sure that it has not been altered. Use a tool like AOL where restrictions can be implemented.
14. Online Games.
Often online games, will contain a chat component. The same rules that apply to instant messaging should apply to the online games and chatting. Rarely are filters available for the online games and many children will encounter strangers who evolve into friends through online play. Be leery and weary.
The Internet is global and not governed by any single entity. There are no limitations. By creating clear boundaries for your children they will be able to take advantage of this amazing vehicle without putting themselves at risk.
Oneness, a Connection with Each Other and with Nature | Author Sara Pennypacker
Sara Pennypacker was a painter before becoming a writer, and has two absolutely fabulous children who are now grown. She has written over twenty children’s books including Pax (illustrated by Jon Klassen), Here In The Real World, the Clementine and Waylan series (both illustrated by Marla Frazee); Stuart’s Cape and Stuart Goes to School (both illustrated by Martin Matje), Meet the Dullards, and others. Sara splits her time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Florida She divides her time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Florida. You can visit her online at www.sarapennypacker.com.
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