Parents Internet Guide - Parental Controls

A Parent's Guide to the Internet and it's Dangers to Children, and Parental Controls software information.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Internet Safety: Part 3 - Prevention

Tips to Prevent All Communication Between Your Child and Online Predators.
  • Communicate with your child about sexual victimization and online dangers.
  • Reason: Kids will listen if you talk to them enough. This also keeps the lines of communication open if your child is ever contacted by an online predator.
  • Spend time with your children online and have them teach you about their favorite online pasttimes.
  • Reason: You want to know where they are going and what they are doing just as you would when they leave your house. Also, knowing how to navigate their favorite sites and use their favorite IMs and/or IRCs will help you retrace their steps if need be.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in your house, not your child's room!
  • Reason: It will make it more difficult for kids to have sexually explicit conversations or view sexually explicit material if the computer screen is visible to the entire household.
  • Utilize parental controls given to you by your service provider. For increased safety use use blocking/monitoring software.
  • Reason: Not all monitoring software provides the same features and not all software is user friendly. Check out what you're buying and the response time of their tech support staff. Chat rooms and IM programs should be heavily monitored/blocked as these are the two most common means online predators use to find children. Keep in mind, however, that while these software programs should be utilized, they shouldn't be soley relied on.
  • Always maintain access to your child's account and randomly check his/her e-mail.
  • Reason: This is the primary way your child will receive sexually explicit pictures. Also, after contacting your child through chat rooms and instane messages, predators will want to speak through e-mail as they can do this at any time throughout the day. Be upfront with your children your access and why you have it.
  • Limit your child's time spent online.
  • Reason: As a rule of thumb, the less time children are online the less opportunity they have to experience an online predator. Not to mention, it isn't healthy for children to stay couped up behind a computer screen for hours upon hours, just as it isn't healthy for them to do this with television. Allow them to use the Internet, but encourage other activities as well.
  • Teach your child about responsible uses of the Internet.
  • Reason: The Internet is a great resource for children. Show them that there is more to it than chat rooms.
  • Find out what computer blocking/monitoring software is used by your child's school, the pulic library homes of your child's friends and any other computers which your child may have online access to.
  • Reason: These are all places outside your normal supervision where your child has the opportunity to encounter a predator.
  • Remember, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual victimization, it is never his/her fault!
  • Reason: Children can be naive about such matters and predators are master manipulators. The offender always bears complete responsibility for his/her actions!
  • Instruct your child to:
  1. Never arrange a face to face meeting with someone they met online.
  2. Never upload/post pictures of themselves onto the Internet for people they don't personally know.
  3. Never give out identifying info about themselves such as their name, address, phone number or even school name to anybody they meet online.
  4. Never download pictures from an unknown source.
  5. Never respond to bulletin boards that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent or harrassing.
  6. Keep in mind that what they are told online may or may not be true.

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