Exposure to inappropriate materials and harassment are only a few of the safety issues parents must be aware of today when they have children using the internet. Child safety on the internet has become an ever-increasing problem facing parents, students, teachersand administrators. Adults have a responsibility to provide our children with access to various types of learning experiences through hands-on experience. Using the internet has and/or will continue to become a very vital part of our children's day-to-day lives. In providing access to this resource, we must also provide guidance and guidelines for the various hazards that can be encountered when using this medium.
Most people who use online services have mainly positive experiences. The online world, like the rest of society, is made up of a wide array of people. Most are decent and respectful, but some may be rude, obnoxious, insulting or even mean and exploitative.
Children and teenagers get a lot of benefit from being online, but they can also be targets of crime and exploitation in this as in any other environment. Trusting, curious and anxious to explore this new world and the relationships it brings, children and teenagers need parental supervision and common sense advice on how to be sure that their experiences in "cyberspace" are happy, healthy and productive.
As members of this vast new electronic community, you and your family must ask yourselves how you will contribute to make it a safer environment for all users.
How To Minimize The Risks
The best way to assure that your children are having a positive online experience is to stay in touch with what they are doing.
Guidelines For Parents
Parents who are concerned about their children's use of electronic resources should provide guidance to their own children. It is important that you as a parent assume responsibility for your child's online computer use, at home, at school, or in the library. Part of your family rules may be:
What Are The Risks?
There are a few risks for children who use online services. Teenagers are particularly at risk because they use the computer unsupervised and because they are more likely than younger children to participate in online discussions regarding companionship, relationships, or sexual activity. Some risks are:
Exposure To Inappropriate Material
One risk is that a child may be exposed to inappropriate material of a sexual (XXX) or violent nature.
If you or your child become aware of the transmission of child pornography report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. Also contact your internet service provider.
Another risk is that, while online, a child might provide information or arrange an encounter that could risk his or her safety or the safety of other family members. In a few cases, pedophiles have used online services and bulletin boards to gain a child's confidence and then arrange a face-to-face meeting.
A third risk is that a child might encounter E-mail or bulletin board messages that are harassing, demeaning, or belligerent.
Online Safety Basics
Here are some of the basics to keep in mind when the children are online.
For more information on Internet Safety CLICK HERE to view the FBI's Internet Safety website.
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