Net Traps: Keeping Kids Safe
Recent news stories are brutal reminders that the world of the internet, while entertaining and informative, can be a dangerous place for children. Here are some practical things parents can do to keep watch over their children.
A personal computer in your child’s room can be like the Trojan Horse. It can open the door to online predators, unwholesome images, and at the same time expand their mind be being able to enhance their education. Parents for the most part are clueless to how much access your kids have to the information highway of the internet. From information that can help them with their latest school project, to the snare of online predators, you may be allowing your child places that you would never let them go in the real world.
Recent news stories show that there is a major problem with internet predators. NBC recently completed its second special concerning internet predators, in which adult males showed up at a target house to engage in sex with adolescent males and female.
With this in mind, here are some safety tips for parents with kids and computers.
First, keep the computer is a public room. There is no need for a child or teen to have their own computer in their own room. If it is in a public place, there is less likelihood that the computer will be use inappropriately.
Second, be specific on boundaries and guidelines for internet use.
Third, purchase safety software. There are a number of these that screen, track, and block certain websites, in today’s world a wise parent will do what they can do to insure safety.
Fourth, use your parental controls. Your internet service can usually provide you with a step-by-step process. Many kids will try to tell their parents that these controls and blocking programs are easy to defeat. Use them anyway.
Fifth, know where your kid goes. If they have a “My Space” account, look at it.
Sixth, monitor you child’s time on line. We, as a culture, are being pulled more and more into the web. While it is a great place for shopping, entertainment, news and research, it can also be a time stealer and an innocence bandit.
Seventh, know how to use the tools on your computer to find out where they have been and what they are doing. If you do not know how to do this, your internet provider or a computer savvy friend can assist
Note: Some kids will howl like a coyote at the moon once you increase your awareness of where they are on the net. They will tell you that it is personal and private and that you have no business going there. Just a reminder, if you are the parent, you are paying for the internet connection; they are under 18, so it is you house and your rules. It is a parent’s duty to protect their kids.
If you have questions contact John Thurman