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INTERNET SAFETY

Internet use will vary according to a person’s age and developmental level. Teenagers may be more likely to search for sex sites than a younger child.

There are countless predators on the web. They can be very crafty and manipulative. Educating yourself and your children can be vital to their safety.

People often “meet” and get to know each other online. You have no way of finding out if they are telling you the truth over the computer. A “blonde fourteen year old girl” may actually be a forty-three year old man. Someone can also send you a picture that is really someone else.

Personal information put out onto the web could possibly be stolen or misused in many ways. You can also put someone else at risk if you use their name or personal information on the internet.

There is much good information on the web; however, there is a lot of false or misleading information as well.

Cyberstalking exists. People can harass you through e-mails, chat lines, and instant messages.

You can run across illegal materials or dangerous activities while surfing the web. Some material may not be illegal, but may be inappropriate for children, such as sexually explicit material. There are sites for sexually explicit material, hate groups, graphic violence, criminal activity, alcohol and drug use, and many, many others.

Chat rooms can be particularly dangerous. They may have pedophiles, stalkers, kidnappers, and other unsavory characters.

People can find out many things about you if any of your personal information goes out onto the web. There are “secure” sites that use privacy protection software, but these are sometimes broken into by “hackers”.

INTERNET TIPS FOR PARENTS

  • Keep the computer in an open family room.
  • Do not let your children have online “profiles”, send out or receive and pictures, or any personal information that could identify them as a child or give someone the ability to find out who they are.
  • Talk to your children about their internet activities and friends.
  • Look into control software, such as filtering and blocking software.
  • Make sure you tell your children to not talk to people in private rooms and to stop chatting with someone if something seems suspicious or they get a funny feeling about it.
  • Tell them what to look for that might be suspicious, such as questions about sex or about their physical appearance or age.
  • Tell them to never, under any circumstances, meet anyone in person that they have met online without talking to you first and having you with them.
  • Watch the amount of time your children are spending online.
  • Tell your children to never tell anyone what they are doing or where they are going.
  • Ask your children to tell you if anyone asks them to meet somewhere or asks them a personal question that seems strange.
  • Tell your children that internet predators are very crafty and most are highly-skilled in fooling people into thinking they are harmless.
  • Become knowledgeable about computers and the internet.
  • Explore the internet with your children to help them find positive sites and learn how to stay away from destructive or dangerous ones.
  • Spend quality time with your children away from the computer.



 
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