Children and teenagers can get a lot of benefit from being online, but they also can be targets of crime and exploitation in the new environment. Some of the potential risks of unsupervised online activity include:
* Exposure to material of a sexual or violent nature.
* Inadvertently providing information or arranging an encounter that could risk a child's safety.
* Receiving electronic mail or bulletin board messages that are harassing, demeaning or belligerent.
Most online services and Internet providers allow parents to limit their children's access to certain services and features such as adult-oriented "chat rooms" and bulletin boards. Check for these controls when you first subscribe. Here are some helpful hints that also can minimize many potential risks:
* Keep the computer in a central location, such as the kitchen or family room, rather than in a child's bedroom. This way, everyone in the family has access to it.
* Don't use computers and online services as electronic baby-sitters.
* Set and discuss reasonable rules for using the computer.
* Become familiar with the services your child can access and how they work.
* Show interest in how your child is spending time online, and have your child explain what he or she is learning.
* Consider using a pseudonym or not listing your child's name if the service allows it.
* Never give out identifying information or personal information in a public message such as a "chat" or bulletin board, and be sure you're dealing with someone both you and your child know and trust before disclosing identifying information in an E-mail.
* Beware of any offers that involve meeting someone.
* Never respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening or make you feel uncomfortable. Encourage your child to inform you of any such messages and, if you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy to your service provider and ask for their assistance.
* Should you become aware of the transmission, use or viewing of child pornography while online, immediately report this to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by calling 1-800-843-5678. You also should notify the online service that you subscribe to.
* Even though I listed 10 tips, I believe that it is a great idea to purchase some computer monitoring software. This type of software will keep track of everything that goes on while your child is online.
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About the Author
In this world today, it is extremely important that we protect our children. I am a small business owner that sells music and software. This software will monitor everything done while your family is on the computer. For more information, please visit: