Better than a library, the Internet is a virtual storeroom of knowledge. Along your route you will visit websites, check into chat rooms, pop into forums and bookmark your favourite sites along the way. You will learn a new computer language such as LOL, (laugh out loud), that Spam does not always come in a can and that trolls don’t live under a bridge in your fairy tale books from your childhood.
Because cyberspace is such a large virtual world there is so much to experience and you don’t even have to leave your chair. You can use the search engines or links to other websites to find all you need. You will be treated to inside looks at famous places, learn about current events, shop for a bargain. You can even start-up a new business or form an email group.
Children are believers in magic and make believe. They will easily walk off a path with a stranger in search of a lost puppy or kitty cat. They are vulnerable from every angle, and as a parent you are responsible to keep them as safe as possible if they use the Internet.
Learn how to keep your children safe on the Internet. So many parents say “my child would never meet anyone from the Internet” ….yet the reality is that so many kids are looking for something more … someone more … more love … more attention … and when a stranger tells them how wonderful they are and how happy they can make them … don’t be fooled! Your kids will believe them.
Internet Safety Tips for Your Children
Talk openly with your child; many youngsters mature a lot faster than their parents give them credit for. Really listen to your child, show that not only do you expect to have respect, but that you have respect for them as well.
Make a game about sitting with them while they are on the Internet. Learn how to watch their activities without overdoing it.
Keep the computer in an open area, like the living room or kitchen. Don’t allow your child a place where they can have full privacy. Glance at the screen every time you pass the computer without slowing down and being obvious, unless you see something very objectionable.
Use the parental control software available and password-protect your computer.
Check out the email folders often. Also look for additional folders the child can make and store their emails in. Don’t be deceived by the titles of the folders; one parent reported that a file labelled “Pet Pictures” turned out to be undesirable photos.
Your child uses computers at school, friend’s houses and at the library. Find out what safeguards are in place on these computers that will keep your child away from predators.
Remember your child is a victim, not a willing participant. If you find your child has been targeted, call the RCMP immediately. The guilty one is the human predator that picked your child for various reasons to prey upon.
Tell your children to never arrange for a one-on-one meeting with anyone they meet online.
Never upload or post photos without parental approval.
Never give out personal information over the Internet, including phone number, address, first or last names, schools that are attend or sports teams you are on.
Anyone can be anybody on the Internet and there are no repercussions. Do not believe all the hard-luck stories and keep your wits about you when you surf the net.
If your child receives adult content emails, what should you do?
Check the laws with your local RCMP detachment.
Should I just lock my child off the Internet?
For all the bad things that can happen to a child online, the Internet also holds good things. Your child can learn about the world, they can explore countries they have only heard about, pick up pen pals for direct mail contact, and learn about subjects they are studying in school. Restricting them is not a good idea, but talking with your children and monitoring their activities will help to keep them safe and informed. And as a parent, that is your job.
Your child’s safety is paramount.