How Parents Can Help Their Children Stay Safe Online

by Barbara J. Feldman on December 3, 2009

Online dangers have parents and many others worried about how they can stay safe online. Being properly educated about online dangers is the best way to protect yourself and your family from them. Facebook, MySpace, and many other social networking sites have come under fire for online predators. This is particularly concerning to parents that are trying to keep their children away from pedophiles and other dangers that can be found online. Children face three main dangers on social networking sites:

1. Cyberbullying
2. Internet Security
3. Social networking dangers

Children under the age of sixteen and many above the age of sixteen are often subject to cyberbullying. Cyberbullies basically make the social networking experience miserable for children. They do a number of things from making threats to hassling then when they are online. The problem with children on the social networking sites is that they divulge too much information. Allowing others to gain access to your email address, your profile, and even your name can make for a miserable experience online. Cyberbullies will send messages to any contact they can. Instant Messages, emails, and text messages are just a few of the things they will do to make your child’s online experience awful. To protect your children against cyberbullying, make sure they only speak to people that they already know like their school friends or relatives. Sometimes their own school friends may be the bullies so its important to help them be careful about who they allow to see their profile.

Going right along with cyberbullying is Internet security and social networking dangers. Any time you get on the Internet, you are going to take a risk that other people can gain access to your personal information. The best thing to do is to avoid volunteering more information than is necessary. Most of the social networking sites for children are designed to protect them against online predators. They do not allow children to share their personal information in the chat rooms or to engage in foul language or suggestive conversations. Many of the social networking sites for children also use avatars instead of pictures and children need to pick a nickname instead of using their real name.

There are four main social networking sites designed for children that try to give them the ability to interact with others and to play games online. Here are different web sites to consider:

1. Kidswirl
2. Club Penguin
3. Webkinz
4. Whyville

Each of the social networking sites has web site moderators that monitor the site for inappropriate language or conversations. Some sites are a little stricter from others when it comes to keeping children safe online. Whyville has actually won awards for its ability to keep children safe and to educate them at the same time.

The social networking/gaming sites all have avatars instead of pictures and they block children from sending out their personal information like their phone numbers or email address. Even though the web sites have moderators, they still cannot completely protect your children. It is up to parents to take an active role and to educate their children about the online dangers out there. Here are a few of the dangers to watch out for:

• Sexual Predators. Typically they disguise themselves with a friendly profile as they want to lure children in. They will fake all of their information from their name to their age and many of them copy the hobbies of other children of the same age in order to trick innocent children into meeting them.

• Information Hustlers. There are also people online that will befriend children in order to get information from them. Usually the information they are looking for involves their parent’s credit card or bank account information.

• Thieves. Thieves are often on social networking sites and they are looking to find out where the child lives so they can come and scope out the house for valuables. They often trick children to upload pictures of the house along with pictures inside the home.

More tips like this one in Cyber Bullying,Facebook,Kids,MySpace,Security



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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How Parents Can Help Their Children Stay Safe Online." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 3 Dec. 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/621/how-parents-can-help-their-children-stay-safe-online/ >.


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