by Cathleen Zapata
We all get consumed in our day-to-day activities and it’s hard to keep up on every activity your kids are involved in, especially if it’s on the computer. Here are seven tips to protect your children from an Internet crime. Keep these tips in the back of your mind the next time you spend quality time with them on the web. Even if this article can help one person or family prevent an online atrocity from happening – we think it’s completely worth it.
1. First and foremost – Talk with your child. Be upfront with your child – talk with them about the sites you don’t want them to go to. Let them know that you’ll be checking what they’re doing online for their own safety. Let them know of the risks online. Educate them!!
2. Keep the computer in a neutral / family / public location. Don’t let your child keep their computer or laptop in their room with Internet access. This is not harsh or cruel – this is for your child’s safety.
3. Look at your computer’s history logs to see where your child is going online. Don’t let your child clear the history. You should be reviewing this every week.
4. Who is your child IM’ing? Is it someone from school? Someone they met online? If your child was talking to someone on the street or a strange person was calling them, you’d want to know who that person was. There is no difference in knowing who your child is communicating with online. Except online – you can’t mask your appearance or voice. There are people who pose as kids out there and your child may be completely unaware. It is extremely easy to get a hold of someone’s IM address. The most important thing you can do is to find out who they’re IM’ing online. Again, talk with your child and educate them of the dangers.
5. Do you know the “code words” your child is using in IM? If you don’t, ask your child. Make your child make a list for you. Understanding IM Lingo
6. Block sites such as playboy.com, penthouse.com, or any other site you don’t want your child to view. You can block sites under your Internet Options.
7. What is your child searching for online? What keywords? This is something else you should monitor on a weekly basis to see where and what your child is doing online.
Remember, no parent wants to constantly monitor their child or look over their shoulder. We all want to trust our children, and we should. Your child may be a completely innocent victim. This is not about trust – it’s about you protecting your child. There are real threats out there that cannot be ignored.