Do you worry about how safe your child is while on the internet? Are you freaked out by the stories in the news about cyberbullying and cyberstalking? Is it possible that sexual predators use the internet daily to troll for victims?
Parents Should Be Aware of Dangers Online
Using the Internet has become second nature to all of us. According to Paul Bauer author of 101 Internet Safety Tips For Kids
the Internet is also a minefield. He sites the following statistics;
- 93% of all children between 12 and 17 years old use the Internet
- 16% of teens consider meeting someone they’ve only talked to online and never met before
- 8% actually meet someone they have never met before but meet online
- 32% of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do online from their parents
- 16% of teens have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hie what they do online from parents
- 63% say they know how to hide what they do online from parents
- 20% of teens have engaged in cyberbullying behaviors
- 42% of parents do not review the content of what their child reads and/or types in chat rooms or via Instant Messaging.
- 30% of parents allow their teenagers to use the computer in private areas such as bedrooms
Internet is Great Resource- But Be Careful
Mostly the Internet is useful and fun and definitely here to stay. But I recommend keeping the Internet access on a family computer in a communal area, like a living room, rather than in children’s bedrooms. Kids might protest, but you are the parents. It is much better to go through a pout session with a teen, than trying to track down a pervert who is stalking your child.
Commercially available software is available (check the resource page at www.cyberbullyinghelp.com ) that will filter and block access to sites featuring adult material.
Find out what sites your child goes to on a regular basis by asking and then checking. You are the parent and the computer and cell phones are privileges. Because many parents were not exposed to the cell phones and small personal computers as teens, they are not aware of the many dangers and benefits that are available online. Make it your business to find out.
Cyberbullying is More Common Than Many Thought
Remind your kids to be selective about giving out email addresses and change that email address if they are bullied online. Reassure them that you will be available for support, should they feel harassed. The most influential education goes on between you and your child in daily conversations. Build a bond of trust even when they act uninterested in sharing details of their lives with you.
Self Awareness Quiz
- Do you know if your child has ever been uncomfortable with an online message?
- Do you know what to do if your child is harassed on social media like Facebook or Myspace?
- Are you talking about the dangers of the Internet the same way you talk about what to do if there were a fire in the house?
- Do you keep computers in central place and monitor what is going on?
- Are you sure your child would tell you if they were being bullied or cyberbullying someone else?