The Internet: How to Keep Your Child Safe
A computer with Internet access should always be in a public place in your house, not in your child’s room. Having Internet access in your child’s room is like inviting a stranger into your child’s bedroom at any time of the day or night.
• A child, or anyone for that matter, should NEVER create a profile on the computer or an Internet site. Any bit of information is a way for a predator to begin a conversation.
• Never allow your children to use public chat rooms; they can easily fall into the hands of a predator.
• There are many “unsecured/potentially dangerous” Internet sites where predators look for children: Facebook.com, Teen.com, Myspace.com and many more that will be developed in the future.
• Boys are just as vulnerable as girls are to online predators.
• Parents should know their child’s password. Children however, should not share their passwords with anyone else, not even their best friend.
• Parents should have the primary account on a computer, not the child. This allows parents to set up controls to help keep children safe.
• Use the safe parent controls from your Internet provider. Use the safe searcher controls provided by Google and other search engines.
• Install a monitoring/surveillance tool on your computer. This allows you to print out and see every keystroke and visited Internet site.
• Limit instant messaging to your children’s known friends and family. Have them set up a pass code to verify that they are speaking with the intended person.
• Make sure your children know that a friend is someone they have met face to face. An introduction on the Internet does not count.
• Online bullying is real. Watch your children; be aware if they are reluctant to go to school or participate in activities.
• The most important message is to be a parent. Don’t allow your children to use the Internet/computer for hours at a time; no time should be unsupervised. Sit with your child when he/she does homework.If he/she blanks out the screen when you are near by or uses the codes such as POP (parent on patrol) or POS (parent over shoulder) be aware that something is going on.
• Just as we warn our children about potential strangers on the street, we must communicate and educate our children about the potential hazards on the Internet. Let them know that if they find something “wrong” by mistake, that they should tell you immediately.