The Internet can be a wonderful tool for children to learn about the world, engage their creativity and connect with friends, but, unfortunately, there are predators online just waiting to take advantage of vulnerable children. Just like you wouldn’t leave your child alone in a mall or on the street, you can never leave your children unattended online. Law enforcement officials say that at any given moment there are around 50,000 sexual predators online, and with an estimated 86% of children left unattended we have inadvertently turned our son’s and daughter’s rooms into virtual lion’s dens. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to protect our children online. Here are 5 Internet safety tips for children.
- Parents should teach their children to be weary of people with fishy or suspicious identities that try to contact them. It is important for our children to know not trust anyone they don’t know, especially if they are from a state or country they might not be familiar with. It is said that over 70% of people in children’s online chat rooms are not who they say they are. Moreover, it is important to teach your children not to give these people any personal information, like a contact telephone number or a home address.
- Next, it is important that children never give anyone online, that they don’t know, their personal information. If anyone is requesting photographs, school or home addresses, telephone numbers or any other personal information that could help a predator locate a child, it is recommended that this person be reported to authorities immediately. If might be easier to hide the fact that you are an Internet predator than remove a Google penalty.
- Children must be taught that it is okay to report bullies or predators that they encounter online. If your child sees any inappropriate chats, emails or any other content, it is crucial that they send transcripts to their parents or guardians immediately. They must also know that they won’t get in trouble if they do so. Many children are fooled into believing that tattling on one of these online predators will get them in trouble.
- Also, children under the age of 18 should always be monitored online. This means keeping it out of your child’s locked bedroom and into a location in the house where parents can keep a watchful eye. In addition, parents should keep a record of all the passwords to their social media and email accounts and do a weekly check to make sure there are no unknown names or suspicious activity.
- Lastly, it is recommended that parents block all websites that could have harmful or dangerous material. The biggest demographic for online pornography is children between the ages of 13 and 17. There are a number of programs that you can download on your computer that will block out these websites or make it impossible for your children to view them. Just like you would keep your child protected when they go outside, the Internet is teeming with predators, so it is just as important to protect them online. The best thing your can do is be prepared and keep a watchful eye.