Online Child Safety

The hardest part of keeping children safe online is there are so many wrong roads for them to walk down. Parents need to continuously work at maintaining awareness of the dangers presented to children on a daily basis. No matter how un-cool it makes you look you need to monitor their online activities. No excuses, no slacking. Yeah, there are some cool, perfectly legit sites for kids but everyone understands there are many sites that are not appropriate for children. Porn sites, gambling sites, chat rooms are the obvious dangers. You also need to be concerned about some of the less obvious dangers.
 
An open blog site like Tumblr has a broad range of suggestive material (meaning R or worse rated) that anyone can visit. Anyone, even your child. Various video sites like Daily Motion have a theoretical age restriction but your nine year just has to click a button and they’ve magically become an adult. Your child now has access to a broad range of suggestive material. There are all kinds of pseudo news sites that advise visitors to click for “Hot Pictures of…“That include multiple variations on stages of undress, bad language, etc. I’m wondering what message this sends children including body image, self image and conflict resolution. It is something to consider. There are very accessible gaming sites filled with mindless violence and too many to count portals where children can view “R rated TV shows.
 
I hope you understand the definition of online also includes mobile devices. I expect you’ve also figured out it’s a lot easier to monitor activities on a desktop or notebook than a mobile device. Of course, the worst danger is online predators and we dedicated an entire page to that topic (http://lambertchildsafety.org/online-predators).
 
Again, the message is to monitor and pay attention to what your children are looking at and listening to.
 
Here are some rules for your children to follow, courtesy of the Child Rescue Network (www.ChildRescueNetwork.org ):
 
“Children’s Rules for Online Safety
Never allow your child to have a computer with Internet access in their bedroom or any area that is private. Move it into the family room or someplace where you can easily see the activity.
  • Set time restraints. Do not allow your child to spend hour after hour online.
  • Check history and consider installing tracking software as well as parental controls. If your child is “wiping” the history every time, then you should find out why.
  • Spend time with your child online. This does so many things including giving you quality time with your child. Explore together!
  • Teach your kids that when they come across any material that makes them feel uncomfortable, scared, or confused to immediately tell you or another trusted adult.
  • Teach your kids to never open emails from people they do not know in person.
  • Teach kids to never reveal any personal information and to immediately tell you or a trusted adult if someone ever makes them feel uncomfortable or starts communicating in a sexually explicit manner.
  • On social networks like Facebook, make sure the privacy settings are on to limit contact to only those on your child’s “friends” list and those should be people the child actually knows in person.
  • Make sure your child understands that anything that gets posted online will always be out there and can NEVER be completely deleted. A suggestive picture to a boyfriend could end up anywhere and everywhere. All pictures should be cleared by you before posting.
  • Make sure your child understands that he or she should, under no circumstances, ever meet in person someone they met online without you being present.”
Under no circumstance should your children give out personal information including; address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number without parents’ permission. Under no circumstance should they give out their Social Security number or any credit card numbers. Passwords should be a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. It’s always a good idea to change passwords every quarter. If your child uses chat rooms they need to use a nickname that’s different from their screen name and you need to be monitoring their chat sessions.
 
If your child tells you that they were involved in a chat room conversation that made them feel uncomfortable or in danger for any reason report the incident. You can also report it to the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children — they have a form for reporting this type of incident called the Cyber Tip Line.  They will forward that info to law enforcement officials for investigation. 
 
 
 
 
The following Infographic was created by Zone Alarm by Check Point.
 
zone-alarm-how-to-keep-kids-safe-on-social-media-600px
 
Please return to the top of the page and click the “Video” tab to watch Google’s excellent video on Child Safety Online.