With statistics like: “1 in 5 children are sexually solicited/approached over the Internet in a one-year period of time” and “20% of violent offenders service in state prisons reported having victimized a child” this obviously is not something that (we) parents’ should take lightly!
The Perfect Victim
- Ideal Age: 11-14
- No or Little Parental Involvement
- No Definite Bedtime
- Can be Away from Home Without Anyone Knowing Where They are
- Has Exclusive Use of the Computer Privately
Unfortunately, your child can easily & freely register their name, email/chat address, birthdays etc. on a variety of websites. Check to see if your children are already listed with: AllTheWeb, AnyBirthday, Google, MSN, MyFamily, Yahoo!, ZabaSearch & ZoomInfo.
This video demonstration from Netsmartz dramatically illustrates how vulnerable our children are when chatting online. Our kids use an online chat language that is meant to be quick (who wants to type) AND of course, to confuse (us) parents.
Parents Internet Access Guidelines
- Place the computer in a central location in the home, not in your child’s room.
- Learn who your children are chatting with online
- Your existing rule “Don’t talk to strangers” needs to now include “online strangers!”
- Learn and use the same chatting and search tools used by your kids. (Besides, chatting can be fun for adults too!)
- Define and make an agreement with your child about computer usage: hours, access to chat revealing personal information & photographs.
- Let your child know that telling you about unwanted or suspicious chatting will NOT lead to restrictions on using the computer. YOU (the parent) need to take this seriously and either contact the CyberTipline or your police department.
- Be aware that your kids have access to computers at school, library and friends’ homes.
- Read the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “The Bloggers’ FAQ on Student Blogging,” which addresses legal issues arising from student blogging. It focuses on blogging by high school (and middle school) students, but also contains information for college students.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has additional safety tips for families with elementary-school-aged and teen-aged children using computer online services.
Additional Microsoft Resources:
Myth vs. Fact: Is the Online World More Dangerous Than the Real World?
Resources invaluable to this article:
i-SAFE extends education beyond the classroom with Community Outreach. We have programs for students, educators, parents, law enforcement, and community leaders.Laura Chappell’s Kids Project provides educational resources and presentation materials to parents and leaders for regionalized delivery of Internet Safety for Kids presentations.The NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive, educational safety resource that teaches kids and teens how to stay safer on the Internet. NetSmartz combines the newest technologies available and the most current information to create high-impact educational activities that are well received by even the most tech-savvy kids.Perverted-Justice.com recruits volunteer contributors who pose as underage children in chatrooms. Posing from a variety of ages (standard ages are 10-15), these contributors simply go into chatrooms with fake online screennames and wait for predators to instigate conversation with them.
When you’re ready – take the Internet Safety Quiz for Adults