Family - Parenting
By: - at June 6, 2013

How to Protect Your Children Against Online Dangers

Kid typing on computer

The internet offers children the best forum for learning and entertainment. It provides them with information resources, entertainment, faster communication, social networking, and online services. When online, children readily access information, images, games, and movies. Furthermore, they also meet and chat with new and old friends through social networking forums and chat rooms. However, parents are concerned about many dangers the internet exposes children to. For instance, they can access inappropriate information such as pornography and violent movies and games. Furthermore, they can meet criminals who can harm, kidnap, or kill them. Therefore, parents should fully protect children when they are online. This article describes the online dangers that children face and measures that parents can take to protect their children.

Online Dangers That Children Face
With just a click of the mouse, the child can access websites that promote use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco; pornography; racism and hate groups; guns and explosives; cult and satanic groups or graphic violence. Furthermore, it exposes them to criminals.

Pedophiles in Social Networking - Many children are active in social networking sites such as MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook. Despite age limit of thirteen imposed by the websites, children as young as nine years engage in social networking. They easily connect with strangers or people who have provided fake identities and addresses. Pedophiles know their child victims through social networking websites, via instant messaging systems or chat rooms. They persuade the children to meet them and eventually abduct, harm or kill them.

Kids looking at something surprising onlineAccess to Unsuitable Information and Images - Children can access websites with adult information, movies and images that they should not see at their age. Of major concern are pornographic photos and videos. Many children browse sexual images online. Sexual predators can persuade your child to send them nude photos or lure them to pose naked in front of the webcam for a photograph. Furthermore, children can access websites that promote racism and sexism and those that encourage users to engage in self-harming actions such as inflicting pain or eating disorders. The child can develop disturbing behaviors or thoughts after such exposure.

Identity Theft - Criminals persuade children to give them personal information such as physical address, phone numbers, and information about their parents. This can lead to theft and robbery being committed at your home. Furthermore, criminals can impersonate and incriminate the child or parents in criminal activities they commit on the internet or elsewhere. Before you prove yourself or the child innocent, you shall have gone through costly, stressful, and time consuming court processes.

Stupid Facebook PostCareer Spoiling - The information children post in their internet accounts is accessible worldwide. Revealing personal information can negatively affect the child’s future opportunities. Education institutions and employment agencies review postings made by candidates on social networks to decide their qualification.

On June 7th 2013, in Cleveland Ohio: The newly promoted Bolton Elementary School principal, Erin Murphy was promptly removed from her position.  This is all due to a Facebook post she made, publicly denigrating her would-be future employees.  On the Facebook post, she calling teachers "pecrepit looking" and the school "the filthiest school...".  See the article here on Fox Action News.

Time Spent Online - Children should not spend too much time online. You should encourage them to engage in other social activities such as sports. The child can easily develop depression from the isolation and become disoriented if their social world is confined to the screen.

Online Bullying - Online bullying is rampant. Your child could be a bully or victim. Bullies post information that upset other users. The bully can set up a website for use by other bullies to post negative information about their victims. For instance, bullies can use it to vote and humiliate the victims who have some undesirable physical features. Furthermore, a bully can send emails with very hurtful messages: with copies to many other children. It is difficult to find and punish bullies because they keep their identities anonymous making.

Measures to Protect Children While Online
Education is the most effective means of protecting children against online dangers. Parents can use the measures listed below to complement education because they work on the children’s computers at home and are more effective for young children. Older ones have access to computers elsewhere: cyber cafes, school, libraries, or friend’s house. Furthermore, older ones can use the mobile phone to surf the internet.

Education - Children are often not aware of the online dangers. Therefore, it is the duty of parents to inform them of all these dangers lurking online. Furthermore, it is the duty of parents to educate their children on how to protect themselves from these dangers.

Open Communication - Create a relationship with your children in which they find it easy to communicate with you. They will then find it easy to inform you if they encounter a situation online that is uncomfortable or unusual. Develop trust between you and your child that will enable open and effective communication. Open communication involves talking and listening. You should be able to talk as well as listen to your child. Listen to your child's descriptions as well as emotions on what their is saying. Allow them to express themselves fully without undue interruption. Start open communication with your child early. Let him grow up knowing that you can listen to anything he has to say and solve any problem he has. This will make it easy for you to understand him during his teen years when communication may be difficult.

Kid enjoying surfing the webMonitoring Children’s Surfing Activities - Place the children’s computer in a public area of the house. For instance, it is easy to monitor children’s activities online from a computer in the living room. They will know that an adult can notice when they visit prohibited sites and avoid them. Furthermore, you should be the administrator on the children’s computer and create a non-administrator account for each child. As an administrator, you can check their activities in their absence by using the parental controls provided in the computer to track their activities. You can install more programs that enhance tracking.

Set Surfing Rules - Compile a list of rules for the children to follow while surfing. Include the punishments you will give those who violate the rules. Review the rules with the children and make sure they understand them. Post the list of rules on their computers.

Block Inappropriate Websites - Windows has built in settings for parents to block websites and mail which they do not want their children to access. It is a very useful facility because it prevents the children from visiting a whole range of offensive sites. With non-administrative accounts, the children cannot remove the settings.

Final Words
Children are easily intimidated and manipulated because they lack the emotional maturity to sense danger and defend themselves. Their overbearing curiosity and desire for acceptance and belonging makes them even more vulnerable. Use the measures outlined above to protect your children against online dangers.





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