As parents of children we are all concerned about our childs safety. Keeping your kids safe on the Internet is just as important as keeping them safe anywhere else. While you may think that it really does not matter whether you know what they are doing or who they are talking with on the internet, make sure your children feel comfortable talking to you about their online experiences, whether they are good and bad experiences. If you catch your child doing something inappropriate, never threaten to take away Internet access as a punishment for something that happens to your children while they are online. More than likely, your child will just find another way to go online, whether it is at a friend’s house or the library. The only difference is that this time they may not tell you about what they are doing there and it may lead them into dangerous situations.
Some of the dangers/risks of internet surfing and chat can include:
(With permission from Keeping Kids Safe Online, A Publication of The Children's Partnership With The National PTA and The National Urban League — December 1997, A Publication of The Children's Partnership with The National PTA and The National Urban League.)
Easy-to-find sites with sexually explicit images and text
Easy-to-find sites promoting hatred, bigotry, violence, drugs, cults, and other things not appropriate for children
Inaccurate, misleading, and untrue information
No restrictions on marketing products such as alcohol and tobacco to children
Marketing that deceptively collects personal information from kids in order to sell products to them or their parents
Requests for personal information for contests, surveys, etc., that are used in unauthorized ways
Easy access to games with excessive violence and gender stereotypes
Internet use with monitoring by many worth risk
While all of the risks/dangers sound very frightening, 74 % of parents in a commonsense.com pool felt that the Internet offers their kids the best opportunities to grow and learn than other mediums. But while they think it is a good tool, parents polled have definite opinions on monitoring safety issues. “The Internet is a wonderful but scary tool – children MUST be monitored,” said one. Another parent, who felt she has a “good relationship” with her daughter and trusts “her judgment” still has “a system of checks and balances in place to verify our beliefs.“
Parents aren’t the only ones who should be watchdogs for kids, either. “The Internet Education Foundation, through its online consumer safety site GetNetWise.org, notes it takes several people working together to help children keep safe on the internet today. “Parents need to stay in close touch with their kids as they explore the Internet. Teachers need to help students use the Internet appropriately and safely. Community groups, including libraries, after-school programs and other should educate the public about safe surfing,” notes their On-Line Safety Guide at GetNetWise.org – http://kids.getnetwise.org/safetyguide/
“We might seem overprotective at best and as controlling snoops at worst. But we have to be sure kids now how to be safe and responsible before letting them loose. It’s up to us to make them listen when they don’t want to hear,” notes commonsense.com, from Five Internet Challenges for Parents, Internet Survival Guide.
(Visit commonsense.com for the Internet Safety Guide:© 2006 Common Sense Media. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.)
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Michelle Donaghey is a freelance writer and mother of two boys, Chris and Patrick, who are her inspiration. She lives in Bremen, Indiana just south of South Bend, home of Notre Dame. When she isn’t writing, Michelle can be found in her perennial flower garden or working on small home improvement projects. Michelle has written for parenting publications including Metro Kids, Atlanta Parent,Dallas Child, Great Lakes Family, Family Times and Space Coast Parent and websites including iparenting.com.
Dangers they can encounter!
by Michelle Donaghey
There is a fine line when moniorting internet use. The first thing you should do is talk with your kids about Internet Safety!