Once upon a time parents did not have to worry as much about their children. Twenty years ago, parents would worry about accidents happening or someone breaking in and harming their children. Today, a parent has to worry about their child so much more.
With the development of the Internet, children have become more susceptible to violence and exploitation then ever before. These children have the ability to create relationships with pedophiles and other deviant-minded individuals with the click of a button, putting them in harms way.
Though the Internet has many benefits, the negative impact it can have on a child's life makes these benefits seem less worthwhile. If you are a parent that does not know much about computers, the idea of your child on the Internet can be a terrifying thought. Banning them from computers until they are 18 seems plausible in theory, but with the technologically-driven remodeling of the entire structure of the world, it is incredibly unrealistic.
There are ways to protect your child online and still allow them to receive the benefits the Internet offers. More importantly, there are things you can do to protect your children from being exploited by predators online. The following tips can help to ensure your child is safe online.
- Use the Internet with Them. The best way to make sure that your children are not visiting sites that could be potentially harmful to them is to visit them with your child. Check out the sites your children use and if you are uncomfortable with certain sites, restrict your child from them. Think of the Internet as you would cable television. If you would not let your child watch an R-rated movie then do not let them visit an adult themed website.
- Say No to Social Networking Sites. As popular as sites like Myspace are, they are also a great spot for social deviants, child molesters, and stalkers to find vulnerable children. Sadly, you hear stories on a constant basis about people that have been hurt, kidnapped, and taken advantage of on sites like these.
Children do not need to be allowed to visit these sites. Even if a site says it is okay for children, often the sites are far too large to police every misdeed, and in many cases some of the misdeeds involve child molestation and murder. These issues are far too big to ignore and should give you enough reason to steer your kids in the opposite direction.
- Restrict their Email. Do not allow your children to use their email without you present or to create an email account if you do not know its password. You might even want their email to be sent to your inbox so you can let them read it through there. This will allow you to see what they are doing when they send email. You want to be sure that they are not giving out personal information through the Internet. This is especially true if they do not know the person they are emailing with.
- Educate them. If you are worried your child is going to resist all the trouble you go through to protect them, then give them a class in Internet Safety. You can find plenty of information and statistics on the Internet about children that are missing, or been harmed in some way. This information should be presented to them. For best results, try to find incidents involving other children of the same gender and age of your child so that your child will truly think about the information you are giving them.
- Parental Blockers and Passwords. If you have tried everything else and you are still worried that your child is going to surpass your instructions and use the Internet in ways that you do not want him to, then you will need to try a parental blocker or the Windows Password feature. In fact, you may want to use both options for added security.
The password feature can be used to create an account for your child. If you do this, it is recommended that you keep the password to both your account and their account a secret. This allows you to decide when your child can go online and what is accessible when they are online.
Parental blockers are available through most Internet companies but they are also available commercially. You will be able to restrict any area of the Internet you do not want your child visiting. This means you could restrict email, various websites, or anything else you are uncomfortable with them using.