Your Child and the Internet – What You Should Know
Young children should not use
chat rooms — the dangers are too great.
As children get older, direct them towards
well-monitored kids' chat rooms. Encourage even your
teens to use monitored chat rooms.
If your children take part in chat rooms, make
sure you know which ones they visit and with whom
they talk. Monitor the chat areas yourself to see
what kind of conversations take place.
Instruct your children to never leave the chat
room's public area. Many chat rooms offer private
areas where users can have one-on-one chats with
other users-chat monitors can't read these
conversations. These are often referred to as
Keep the Internet-connected computer in a common
area of the house, never in a child's bedroom. It
is much more difficult for a predator to establish
a relationship with your child if the computer
screen is easily visible. Even when the computer
is in a public area of your home, sit with your
child when they are online.
When your children are young, they should share
the family e-mail address rather than have their
own e-mail accounts. As they get older, you can
ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to set up
a separate e-mail address, but your children's
mail can still reside in your account.
Tell your children to never respond to instant
messaging or e-mails from strangers. If your
children use computers in places outside your
supervision-public library, school, or friends'
homes-find out what computer safeguards are used.
If all precautions fail and your kids do meet an
online predator, don't blame them. The offender
always bears full responsibility. Take decisive
action to stop your child from any further contact
with this person.
Make sure your kids know not to share personal
information with other people on the web. That
includes their name, age, where they live, even
their school as it helps a potential predator
locate that child.