The internet is a brilliant place to connect with others, to be creative and to discover new things.
Having a platform to express yourself, share your experiences, and connect with others can be a wonderful thing, and it can be empowering for people who feel their voices are marginalized in day to day life. However, it is important to note that this culture of online sharing can have a negative impact. How much do you want to share? And how much are you sharing without realizing it?
This is especially a concern to parents and children, as children are often targets of these malicious users. Common threats to personal safety include: phishing, internet scams, malware, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and online preditions
Online tools are available that will let you control your children’s access to adult material and help protect them from Internet predators. No option is going to guarantee that they’ll be kept away from 100% of the risks on the Internet. So it’s important to be aware of your children’s computer activities and educate them about online risks.
Many Internet service providers (ISPs) provide parent-control options to block certain material from coming into a computer. You can also get software that helps block access to certain sites based on a “bad site” list that your ISP creates. Filtering programs can block sites from coming in and restrict personal information from being sent online. Other programs can monitor and track online activity. Also, make sure your kids create a screen name to protect their real identity.
Aside from these tools, it’s wise to take an active role in protecting your children from Internet predators and sexually explicit materials online. To do that:
- Become computer literate and learn how to block objectionable material.
- Keep the computer in a common area, not in individual bedrooms, where you can watch and monitor its use. Monitor any time spend on smartphones or tablets.
- Share an email or social media account with your child so you can monitor messages.
- Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
- Monitor your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges..