As a parent you have a right to be concerned about the things that your child may be subjected to through simply using the Internet. In just the last decade a whole new type of predator has emerged. Predators who seek to take advantage of Internet users are becoming more cunning and experienced. These predators are not limited to identity theft either. Our children are also being solicited by sexual predators who would take the opportunity to harm our children if we gave them an opportunity to do so.
You need to make sure that an opportunity for your child to be harmed never presents itself. You need to monitor your child’s activity on the Internet and specifically on their MySpace pages. MySpace is a particularly appealing website for predators because so many young people disclose valuable personal information on this site. You need to know how you can check on your child’s MySpace profile as well as the profiles of your child’s friends.
Using technical and non-technical means to check on your child
As a parent, you need help checking up on your children. After all, you cannot always be there to shadow what they do. A reported 65% of parents say that they check up on their children after they have spent time online. Although this number is up from previous years, it is still concerning that roughly 35% of kids are not being checked up on. Those who are aware of their parents’ involvement in their online activities account for about 41% of teens. These teens know that any online activity that takes place on a home computer can be monitored at any point by their parents.
So what are some tools and tactics that you can use to check on your child’s Internet activity including their MySpace profile? One simple solution is to put the computer that your child has access to in public place in your home. When anyone can happen upon the child working, the child tends to use more caution in what is uploaded and talked about on the site.
Other parents find that buying software that can monitor or filter content is most effective. There are many different products available to serve your needs and their functions will depend on what issues you are most concerned about. You can monitor everything from your child’s chats, instant messages, emails, the web sites they visit, what they search for, what they do on MySpace, the pictures they post and look at, the keystrokes they type, the programs they run and much more. Some software programs have what are called advanced surveillance screen snapshot features. With these features you are able to see not only what your children do, but the order in which they do it.
Know the passwords to your child’s accounts
You need to have the passwords for your child’s MySpace account if you are going to check the content that is posted there. You need to also know what to look for. Sometimes teens who know that they are being monitored by their parents will create alternate MySpace pages that their parents do not know about. Additionally, be aware that older teens are more likely to feel comfortable sharing personal information than are younger teens. Boys are more likely to be un-truthful about their identities and girls are more likely to share too many truths. Research shows that 64% of profile-owning boys post fake information. About 50% of girls reported posting false information.
Know who your child talks to and who is talking back
A teen is 50% more likely to be approached by a stranger online than in person. You need to know who your child is talking to by looking at the members of the messaging conversations that they have had.