The internet is an excellent resource for kids of all ages. Children can utilize the internet for researching school projects, playing interactive games and to communicate with teachers and other children. A child that is old enough to punch the buttons on a keyboard literally has access to a world of information. Unfortunately, this access can also pose a hazard. With just one misspelled word or a single missed keystroke, a child could enter the wrong thing and end up on a site that contains inappropriate material. It is important to teach kids internet safety, for parents to be aware of what their children are seeing, hearing and talking to on the internet and what their child shares about themselves online. Educate others on Cyber Safety for Kids!
Cyber Safety for Kids: Online Protection Tools
There are a number of online tools available to help parents control their child’s access to adult material as well as protect them from internet predators. There is no guarantee for the complete safety of children online, so it is vital for parents to be aware of their children’s activities on the computer and to educate children about the online risks. The majority of internet service providers have parent control options that allow them to block certain types of material from being viewed on the computer. There are also several software programs available that help block access to sites that are based on a list of bad sites created by your internet service provider. Programs are also available that can monitor as well as track all online activity.
Cyber Safety for Kids: Basic kids internet safety rules
When educating children on internet safety, there are some basic rules for children to follow while they are using the internet including:
- Always use a screen name instead of real name
- Never give out personal information, such as name of school, their address, phone number or location or school
- Never agree to meet anyone in person
- Never exchange personal photographs over the internet or through the mail
- Never participate in cyber bullying
- Never respond to threatening messages or emails
- Encourage children to tell a parent or other adult if any conversation or communication was scary
- When children have new “friends”, always insist on an online introduction to each new friend
Cyber Safety for Kids: Kid’s internet safety and chat rooms
A chat room is a virtual online room where chatting sessions occur. The chat rooms are set up depending on subjects or interests, such as a television show, sports, games or other interests. People are able to communicate either in a group or one to one and chat rooms are one of the most popular places for kids and teens to go when on the internet. Chat rooms can be extremely dangerous for children, because no one knows who the child is really talking to. Chat rooms are a popular place for predators and pedophiles and many children have befriended adults posing as children in chat rooms, only to be exploited. Predators are extremely convincing, especially with young children and can often prod a child into exchanging personal information such as phone number and/or address, which may put the child and their family at risk of danger. Pedophiles commonly pose as another teenager in chat rooms, because kid have been told to not give personal information to an adult, but the child thinks they are talking with another teen. In many cases, the pedophile will encourage a child to call them and then get the child’s phone number from caller ID.
Cyber Safety for Kids: Warning signs
Some of the warning signs your child may be being targeted by an online predator may include spending a long time online, especially during the night, getting phone call from people you do not know and/or the child receiving anonymous gifts in the mail. If you notice your child suddenly turning off the computer when you enter the room, ask them why they turned it off and immediately look at their history. Children who are chatting with a predator may also gradually withdrawal from family and activities previously enjoyed or are reluctant to discuss their online activities. If you child receives any type of pornography by way of the internet or if he/she has been targeted by an online sex offender, it is vital that you contact the local law enforcement agency or the FBI immediately.
Children of all ages are at risk of danger by using the internet. It is important that parents take an active role in their child’s internet activities to ensure their health and safety. It is common for kid to instant message their friends, surf the internet and explore interesting websites. Unfortunately, without correctly teaching kid’s internet safety and monitoring children’s activities on the computer, what is intended as a source of beneficial information, can quickly become a dangerous situation for children. Parents must take an active role in their child’s internet activities. Keep the computer in common areas of the home, instead of in a child’s bedroom and take an interest in the sites your child visits. Check the history on a daily basis and be open and upfront with your children about the dangers involved with the internet.