When your children go online, you need to pay attention to what they are doing, unless they are only toddlers. Computers are everywhere, so your child can find one to use in some of the following places, schools, friend’s house, even online access on a cell phone, so the home isn’t the only place. It is important to keep your children safe while they are online, but you still want to let them take advantage of the resources of the Internet.
The problems are not always caused by unknown predators online but by other children that know your kid personally. A new term for forms of bullying and harassment that happen online is cyber-bullying. It can be done by instant messaging, emailing or done on social networks. There have been some tragic stories of kids being driven to suicide because of such tactics.
Although this extreme is not normally reached, you still need your child to have open lines of communication with you in case this happens. You can notify the school, the parents of the child or the site the bully is using if you find out your child is being bullied.
Children mostly know not to respond to predators, so if they are approached in most cases nothing will come of it. Yet, you should be alert to any warning signs in case the wrong person has somehow succeeded in making contact with your child.
A thing that should concern you is if your child is having unusual phone activity. If you have never heard of someone and they send a gift to your child you should investigate it. If your child is being secretive in anyway then you should be on the lookout for it, whether it is on the internet, phone or offline.
Facebook is most certainly one of the most popular places to meet online for teens and adults alike. You need to realize that if your kid is pre-teen then he or she should not be using Facebook at all. Facebook’s rules do not permit children under the age of 13 to sign up for an account, but many children are able to avoid this rule. Really you do not want your kid to start lying about how old they are to register an account, as this is trouble waiting to happen. Kids in their early teens can use Facebook, but you should keep an eye on their activities. If you don’t have a Facebook account then sign up for one and then add your kids as friends, even if they don’t want you to do that. This way you’ll be able to see what they’re sharing with who, who they are friends with and who is posting on their wall, etc.
Protecting your children online is mainly a matter of paying close attention to their activities. You don’t want your kids becoming too independent on the internet, as this can lead them into trouble. Keeping your children from becoming victims on the internet can be done with the previous suggestions and using a little common sense.