Internet Smarts: How to
Safeguard Your Child or Teen Article by Vasrue.com
Did you know that 61 percent of all 13- to 17-year
olds have created a profile on social networking sites
like MySpace, Xanga or Friendster? Futhermore, 14 percent
of teens surveyed in a recent Cox Communication study,
in partnership with the National Center for Missing
& Exploited Children (NCMEC), said they've either
met or are considering meeting someone face-to-face
with whom they initially met online. These children
and teenagers consider their online (and offline) behavior
safe. It's ultimately up to parents and guardians to
protect our youth from danger.
Internet threats include viruses, stalkers, peer bullying,
contact with child and sexual predators, exposure to pornography,
graphic violence and other inappropriate content. Your
son or daughter faces these dangers every time he or she
surfs the Internet, engages in email or Instant Messaging
What can you do
to protect your child?
Learn about Internet safety on sites like NetSmartz
(www.netsmartz.org), Play it Cyber Safe (www.playitcybersafe.com)
and the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Communicate with your children, ask where they
surf and who they email and instant message. Teach
them about safe online practices.
Set house rules on computer use and show them
what they can and cannot do.
Set their computer up with approved bookmarks
only, and ask them to tell you if they stray within
a few clicks from these websites.
Put the computer in a common area like the living
or family room.
Ensure your children never discloses personal
or financial information including their full name,
where they live or where you work. If they fill
out forms, ask them to use a fictitious name and
always get your permission.
Keep Internet accounts in your name so you can
control passwords and filters.
Let children know that there are frightening
things online. Show them how to turn the monitor
off if they come across something that upsets or
confuses them, or if something makes them feel uncomfortable.
Encourage your child to tell you or a trusted
adult about any suspicious behavior online.
The Internet is a great educational tool. But it's
changing at alarming rates with new dangers springing
constantly. Stay informed, know what your child is doing
and always keep communication lines open.
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