Internet Safety for Children

World Wide Web

While the internet opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life, they can be exposed to dangers as they hit the road exploring the information highway.

Child Predators

There are individuals who attempt to sexually exploit children through the use of online services and the internet. Some of these persons gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts. These individuals are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money, and energy in this process. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children. These individuals attempt to gradually lower children’s inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations.

There are other individuals, however, who immediately engage in sexually explicit conversation with children. Some collect and trade child-pornographic images, while others seek face-to-face meetings with children via online contacts.

Computer Sex Offenders

It is important for parents to understand that children can be indirectly victimized through conversation, i.e. "chat," as well as the transfer of sexually explicit information and material. Computer-sex offenders may also be evaluating children they come in contact with online for future face-to-face contact and direct victimization. Parents and children should remember that a computer-sex offender can be any age or sex.

General Rules for Kids and Computers

  • Children should have rules for using the computer.
  • Do not allow children to send their photo to anyone without the parent’s permission.
  • Keep the computer in a family room rather than the child’s bedroom so parents know what he/she is doing on the computer.
  • Parents should learn how to use parental controls to keep unwanted material off their computer.
  • Teach children on the internet not to give out information such as name, password, parents names, address, school name or phone number in a chat room or bulletin board. Never let a child arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user.
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