Friday, October 15, 2010

Protecting your kids online

Friday, October 15, 2010
1. Limit the amount of time children have interactive access to the internet to 2 hours a day. This is after homework. According to research, the risk of a child being exposed to predators, pornography, or cyber-bullying goes up dramatically beyond that daily exposure. The more time a kid has to roam around cyberspace, the more trouble they can get into. If a kid knows they only have 2 hours, then they are going to get down to business & do what is high on their priority list(downloading music, chatting with friends, etc) instead of chatting with strangers.

A note to the wise also, experts say that if a child sees mom & dad spending excessive amounts of time online & meeting other people in chat or in person, they will do the same.

2. Computers with internet access should always be in an open area of the house. You should be able to look in from time to time & see what your child is doing, what they are looking at, & know who they are talking to. It's good for them to know you are paying attention.

3. Remind children that online people are not always who they say they are & that there are real-life consequences should they give out personal information that could allow a predator to find them & take advantage of them.

4. What you post online stays online forever. Don't post anything online that you wouldn't want to be seen by your parents, a principal, police, or predators.

5. Beware of the cell phone, digital camera, or web came showing up that you as a parent did not purchase. If you see one of these items, it could mean your child purchased it without your permission or that someone else, possibly a predator, provided it to ensure he will get photos from your child.

6. Guard your passwords. Nothing good can come from fellow students being able to access your child's personal information or their social networking site. A person who may be your friend today may not be next month. That is how it works in today's adolescent world. Better yet, change your passwords regularly.

7.Set up any social networking site so that only people you invite & approve can enter.

8. Know the chat rooms your child is visiting.

9. There is a fine line between spying and respecting your child's privacy, but it's okay to take a look at their computer every once in awhile. Ask them to show you their friend list. Just as you should know the first & last names of the friends they hang out with, you should know the identities of those they are talking to online.

10. Is your child forming an addiction or obsession to the internet? You can check the archive of who your child has been talking to. If there is an unusual amount of time with one person, especially one you do not know, you need to pursue this.

11. Develop trust. Your child needs to know that if they are approached online by anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable that they can come to you openly & honestly & you will not overreact. They need to know they will not be punished. Remember, the child is always the victim.

12. Know where to go if a predator has approached your child online. You should never be shy about calling an internet provider to report something. Many police departments have youth officers who specialize in this area.

13. Do not delay reporting a predator incident. It probably isn't the first time the guy has tried to solicit a teen. If you do not do anything, you are only giving him the opportunity to do it again.

14. Interactive games like World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, etc allow players to communicate with each other in real time, without a reliable way of logging these conversations. This creates the potential for predators to use these games to groom or meet teens. If your child is staying up all hours playing he could be exposed to conversations with people from all over the world.

15. Do not ever allow your child to use their real name as a screen name in a chat room.


Dan Hume said...

I came across your blog through my google news reports. I found it very useful and as such am featuring it on my blog. thanks for doing such a great job.

amy said...

Thank you! Glad I can be of use.

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