Internet Safety
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Internet Safety

The Internet is a wonderful tool to allow your children to research topics for school, hobbies, and interests. It opens your child up to new information and cultures, but it also exposes your children to serious dangers.

The Internet can provide inappropriate materials and lead predators into your child's life. There are dangers in every part of society and forbidding the use of the Internet to your child is not a necessary step in their protection. However, learning and actively following safety guidelines can help keep your kids safe. This article will help to provide you with some information about the dangers on line as well as some methods to help secure the safety of your children as they explore the Internet.

Children and teenagers are the fastest growing group of Internet users. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children an estimated 10 million kids are online, yet only 1/3 of households are actively protecting their children. 1 out of every 4 children has been solicited on line.

You and your children may be unaware that as you move through the Internet, you constantly leave information about yourself. If you or your child posts to a chatroom or enters certain sites, you may unknowingly reveal your email address and often even your name and mailing address.

Some web sites also collect information called "cookies". These cookies are lists of information that may include your name, address, email, telephone number and possibly even your credit card number. You can ask your Internet service provider how to turn off your cookies.

One of the most important things to remember is that your child need not be going in search of inappropriate materials, but even the most innocent of terms could lead your child to dangers.

A search engine is where a person goes to type in key words that will help lead them to the information they are looking for. However most search engines do not distinguish between children and adults, the search engine simply matches the words you typed into information in billions of websites and provides a list of sites that contain your key terms. Your child could be completing their Christmas list and type the word "toys" into the search engine and receive links to sites for Toy's R Us and Kay bee as well as links to inappropriate adult sites. Words this innocent to you and your children will provide links to adult web sites.

Chatrooms are places online where people can meet and discuss anything live by typing messages to one another. Most chatrooms claim to be monitored 24 hours a day. There are thousands of "teen chatrooms" that provide a place for kids to talk to other kids about anything from TV shows to relationships. These rooms claim to be monitored, but they have no method of knowing if the people chatting are actually teenagers. Very often the language in these rooms is obscene and contains vulgarities.

There are ways to protect your kids from these dangers without denying them access to the Internet. Below you will find some important tips provided by the FBI and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Every family should follow these tips.

Internet Safety Guidelines

  1. Keep your computer in a room where you can watch and monitor your child's activities at all times. This is the most important! Keep computers out of your child's bedroom.
  2. Maintain access to your child's Internet and email account. Do not provide your child with his/her own password for Internet access. You should always be home and visually monitoring when your child is using the Internet.
  3. Use a pseudonym if your internet service provider allows it. Steer away from profiles. Pedophiles often use profiles as a means to find child victims.
  4. Never allow a child to arrange a meeting with another computer user.
  5. Talk frequently about Internet safety with your child. Remind them that they never know when 5'6" 17 year old blonde female could really mean 6'3" 40 year old hairy male.
  6. Use a filtering program for your computer, but DO NOT allow that filter to take over your job as the parent.
  7. Tell your children not to respond to offensive or dangerous email, chat requests, or other communications and to report such things to an adult immediately.
  8. Tell your children to never send pictures or provide personal information to anyone online.
  9. Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child's school and at the homes of your child's friends. These are places out of your supervision, where your child could encounter an on-line predator.
  10. Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of exploitation that he/she is not at fault and is the victim. The offending adult always bears complete responsibility for his or her actions.

Report any transmission, use or viewing of child pornography or any suspicious acts to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by calling 1-800-843-5678 and notify your Internet service provider.

Contact Information

email: Mrs. Dantzler
Frontier Middle School (636)
Evening Phone (314) 495-2581
9233 Highway DD
O'Fallon, MO 63368

Created on... August 5, 2005