Internet dangers are very real. In recent years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has noticed a steep increase in the number of Internet crimes being perpetrated against children. In fact, the number of child pornographers and online predators has increased significantly over the past five years. Because the Internet has become the newest playground for children, it has also become a convenient place for predators to look for victims. Children are the easiest targets because the Internet provides kids with an easy way to communicate with strangers outside the realm of adult supervision.

Aside from talking with your children about Internet safety it is also necessary to monitor your child’s Internet activity. Studies show that between 2:30pm and 4:00pm, there are generally around 3 to 4 million kids online. As a result of this phenomenon, this is the same time that child predators are online as well. This would be a good time to restrict your children’s internet use. One out of every four children on the Internet will be harassed by solicitations from potential online predators. These predators are quick to learn what it takes to reach children through channels such as personal profiles, interest groups, instant messaging, chat rooms, e-mail and online gaming.
Educate your child about the proper use of the Internet.

It is important that your child is informed about when to use the Internet: to do research works and assignments. In this way, he will grow up using the Internet responsibly.

Keep his password(s).

Your child should not be the one to keep his password(s). You should be or else, do not allow him to create accounts on social networking sites. But, if he is begging you to allow him because his friends are there, give him your approval. But, as said earlier, the password should come from you so that he will not be able to access it when you are away.

Use kid-friendly search engines.

There are kid-friendly search engines, such as Yahooligans and MSN Kids, which filter out content that is not advisable for children. There are also other search engines that have parental control.

Educate yourself

Yes, you also have to educate yourself to know how you can make sure that your child is safe on the Internet even while you are away. Know how you will be able to monitor the web sites he browsed and block the web sites he should not surf.

Limit his computer sessions.

Set a ‘curfew’, such as one hour only after studying. In this way, he will know his limitations on computer use, and he will get used to it.

Post your rules in a wall near the computer.

Prepare a list of all the rules regarding the use of computer and Internet. Post it in a wall near the computer so that he may see it each time he is using the computer and accessing the Internet.

Here are some additional basic steps you can take to protect your children against internet threats.

  • Educate your child about the methods used by predators so they know what to look out for.
  • Train them to tell you or any trusted adult about any interaction on the Internet that seems unusual or makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Talk with your children about internet safety for students in schools, and make sure to bring up specific examples using IM conversations, chats, text messages, e-mail and photographs.
  • Spend time with your children online to see how they use the Internet. Show them some fun, safe destinations so that you have a say in what they do to pass the time online.
  • Place the computer in a room other than your child’s room where you can easily monitor the activity of your children until they are old enough to protect themselves.

The safety of our children is certainly at risk. Predators explore a variety of tricks and enticements to attract children, including creating free offer pages that offer enticements to children in exchange for their personal details. They may make promises to potential victims to send gifts like certain clothes or make up, or even drugs. They may try to create a wedge between you and your child so your child will be more likely to trust them.

If you are concerned about your child’s Internet activity, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help identify what course of action you should take:

  • Does your child refuse to tell you what his or her screen names or passwords are?
  • Does your child turn off his or her computer monitor or the entire computer when you walk into the room, or does s/he minimize chat or e-mail windows so that you cannot see what is being said?
  • Does your child lock himself in his room with the computer and refuse to let you in while using the computer?
  • Does your child make a point to remove the history file in the Internet browser? This is an important file that shows you what your child is doing when you cannot necessarily watch. A deleted history file could mean that your child is trying to hide something, and you should immediately take steps to change the way that your child uses the Internet.

What could be more valuable than the life and safety of our children? Take proactive and responsible steps now to ensure that your child is educated and protected while using the Internet. Kids enjoy playing games online and even chatting! But,the Internet poses risk for children because pornography and gambling have also invaded the online world. Moreover, heavy use of the Internet can do harm to them, including affecting their peer relations and attention to their studies. Children should not spend too much time on the Internet and should live a normal social life. As parent, you should, therefore, make sure that your child is safe using the Internet-even when you are not around!