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Internet Safety Facts (page 2)

— Love Our Children USA
Updated on Feb 25, 2011

Mistakes

We all mistype addresses into web browsers and search engines. And our chilren can too. That mistake can bring us to sites we do not mean to visit.

Stress to your children the importance of typing correct addresses. Discuss rules about ending up on sites that are not appropriate.

Communication

Communicate openly with your child about what they do online. By having an open relationship with your children, you can discuss a range of issues such as the kinds of materials, situations, or people they may mistakenly come across. Keep talks low-key and and discuss all of the situations that could happen on the Internet.

Be honest, open and comfortable. The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable your child will feel. Openly explain that emailing personal information about themselves to a strange adult on the Internet, or viewing sexually explicit or adult oriented materials are not appropriate and what can happen. By being open and honest, your child won't feel as though they've done something wrong. They should never be afraid of telling you they've visited or emailed someone from these sites.

By discussing these things before they happen, you can prevent your child from being a story in the media.

Kids At Risk

If you find any record of innapprorpiate conversations or pornographic photos, do not panic!

Talk calmly to your child about your concerns. If you fear your child is truly in trouble or at risk, seek help.

Signs that indicate your children are being abused online:

  • If your child becomes secretive about their time online
  • Uses computers in other than their own such as at homes of friends, Interent cafes, or libraries
  • Uses encryption software
  • Downloads files onto discs where you cannot see information
  • Displays changes in behavior or acts out sexually
  • Becomes withdrawn and lsoes self-esteem
  • If your phone bill or child's cell phone bill is unusually high
  • You see unfamiliar phone numbers on your bill (800 numbers do not appear on phone bills)
  • Your child disappears while talking on their cell phone

Note: Kids may hesitate to give out their home numbers but will almost always give out their cell phone numbers. Pedophiles will call and send text messages directly to children.

Child Protection Safety Measures

Kids are very computer savvy and can pretty much figure out protective software, security measures, password changes, etc.

If you have computer passwords and PIN numbers, measures should be taken to protect those at all costs.

Sometimes protective software can be disabled. Be sure that it isn't switched off.
Check that security systems and additional internet accounts have not been added to your computer and that previously installed software hasn't been blocked or diverted.

Cyberbullying

A middle-school girl was on vacation and a rumor circulated via text messaging, that she had contracted SARS while on a trip to Toronto. When she returned no one at school would talk to her.

And for an overweight Japanese boy who was changing clothes in the school locker room, his pictures had been emailed to all his friends.

These rumors, threats, gossip and humiliation - are nothing new ... but today bullies are starting to move beyond slam books and whisper campaigns to e-mail, websites, chat rooms, and text messaging.

Websites and screen names allow bullies anonymity if they want it, and it can be difficult to trace.

Now bullies can extend their harassment into their victims' homes and schools.

  • Kids should not put up with it. They should tell someone they trust ... their parents or teacher -- someone who can find a way to stop it.
  • If kids get upsetting or scary messages, they should document everything by dates, times received and save the emails. This can be reported to the police.
  • As careful as kids should be with giving out their mobile phone numbers ...they should be equally careful giving out their email.

Spam

Spam is unsolicited email. It can be annoying and sometimes offensive. Parents should discuss with their kids who they are sending and receiving emails from.

One of the best ways to deal with spam is to not open it and delete it.

Check out merchants privacy policies when purchasing something over the web. When in chat rooms, your child should not allow their personal profile to be published and should not give out their email address ... nor should they ever allow email addresses to be posted on any web site. They should remain as anonymous as possible.

If you have younger children, set up a list of people they can send and receive emails from and block the rest. Ask your Internet Service Provider how to do this.

Firewall and anti-spam software programs are other ways to keep out unwanted emails and spam. You can also set up a spam email address in addition to your regular email address. Give those close to you your private email address and all others the spam email address.

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