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Internet Safety For Kids Archives

How to Discuss Internet Safety with Your Teen

Computers

 

How to Discuss Internet Safety with Your Teen

 

Are you the parent of a teenager who uses the internet? If you are, have you already had the internet safety talk with your teenager? If you havenít, it is time for that talk to occur. As nice as it is to be able to use the internet for school research projects or to communicate with friends online, it is important to remember that the internet can also be a danger to children and teenagers.

As nice as it is to hear that you should talk to your teenager about internet safety, you may be curious as to how you can go about doing so.

Bringing up the subject can be hard, as your teen may automatically become defensive. The good news is that you do have a number of different options. One of those options is to just go for it.

When you outright discuss internet safety with your teenager, make sure that you pick a good time to have the talk.  Don’t start ranting right away about your teen’s internet use and the dangers after a disagreement or when tensions are already high.

With teenagers, this can lead to other problems. It may cause your teenager to not listen to you just for the point of not listening or they may purposely defy you.

Another option that you have, when looking to discuss internet safety with your child, is to wait until your child gets off the computer. When they walk away, ask them if they know about being safe online and the dangers that the internet has.

This is a great opener, when your child is already using the computer. It may make you sound less like an overprotective, overbearing parent, at least in the eyes of your teenager.

When discussing internet safety with your teenager, it is important to not assume that your child already knows. Even if your child stops you and tells you they already know how to be safe online, don’t stop.  Be sure to restate your point and establish any internet rules you would like your child to follow.

It is important to remember that many teenagers think they know everything, but many don’t.

For example, your child may know that there are internet predators out there, but do they also know that pictures of them smoking or drinking underage could get them suspended from school or even arrested, no matter how cool they look on a MySpace page?

Speaking of MySpace, it is important to know what you should talk to your child about. Since many teenagers use MySpace and other similar social networking websites, they should be discussed.

Make sure your child knows that anyone can hide behind a computer, even a sexual predator. Also, let them know the dangers of posting personal information and pictures on their social networking profiles.

In addition to social networking websites, like MySpace, internet chat rooms should also be discussed. Internet chat rooms are different, but similar in nature to instant messaging programs, like AOL or MSN.

Generally speaking, instant messaging programs are safer for teens to use, as they aren’t automatically paired up and thrown into a chat room with other internet users, who are essentially strangers.

As with social networking websites, make sure that your child knows that they could, essentially, be talking to anyone. Tell them to get out of a chat room right away if the tone turns sexual in nature or if they receive a private message from someone who makes them feel uncomfortable.

You may also want to discuss personal blogs. Many websites, like Blogger.com and WordPress.com allow internet users to start free blogs. Many teens find this a nice and easy way to vent or allow their friends to stay up-to-date on their thoughts.

Your teenager needs to know that anyone can view these blogs, so their information really isnít private and personal, say as a handwritten journal.

As you can see, there are a number of different ways that you can go about discussing internet safety with your teenager. Remember to do so, however, before it is too late. Any child who uses the internet should be well aware of the dangers that lurk.

 
Nick Naggar

 

Nick Naggar
August 15, 2009

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Children and Online Chat Rooms: The Dangers That Lurk

Computers

Children and Online Chat Rooms: The Dangers That Lurk

 

Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who wants to use internet chat rooms? Or, is your child already using them? If so, it is important that both you and your child know the dangers that often lurk around online chat rooms.

 

For starters, it is important to know that the computer and internet makes it easy for someone to be anyone they want to. In fact, an internet user can claim to be someone famous, a superhero, or another teenager.

There is nothing out there that can stop them. If your child is using a chat room for teenagers or younger children, they need to know the dangers of exchanging personal information with strangers or online friends.   Because, anyone can be at the other end of the computer.

Another common danger of using online chat rooms is the screen names. Screen names are what is used to identity your child and differentiate them from other chat room users. If you allow your child to use an online chat room, there is one internet safety step that must be taken.

Have your child create a separate screen name that will not be used elsewhere. If they use part of their email address, a screen name that appears on other websites or online message boards, or part of their full name, a standard internet search could lead internet predators to your child’s real identity.

It is also important to know that anyone can get into a chat room. Unfortunately, this is an important internet safety fact that many parents do not realize. Just because your teenager is in an online chat room that is designed for kids between the ages of 14 to 17, it doesn’t mean that everyone is the same age in the room.

No age verification is required to get into most online chat rooms. As it was previously stated, the internet makes it easy for anyone to create a false identity. This false identity can be used to lure in your child and other young internet users.

One of the reasons why children and teenagers like to use internet chat rooms is because it automatically connects them with a number of other internet users. In fact, an online chat room could have as many as one hundred or more internet users talking in it.

Unfortunately, many parents do not realize that some chat rooms have private messaging programs available. This means that a person, who may actually be a 50 or 60 years old man or woman, could send a private message and communicate directly with your child. This is actually how many teenagers and children get into trouble with online predators.

As you can see, there are a number of dangers that lurk around internet chat rooms. Does this mean that your child shouldn’t use them? In all honesty, the decision is yours to make, as you are the parent.

With that said, a number of factors should be taken into consideration, such as your child’s age and maturity level. Do you trust your child to follow the rules that you set in place concerning internet use and the use of online chat rooms?

Speaking of rules, be sure to have them if you let or know that your son or daughter is using internet chat rooms. Do not let them visit chat rooms that are designed for adults only. This makes them an easy target. Also, be sure they know that just because someone claims to be a 15 year old boy or girl, it doesn’t mean that they are.

They should also never send out pictures or videos of themselves, even when asked, and no other personal information should be exchanged.

If internet chat rooms concern you, which they should, you may want to point your child in the direction of online message boards instead. Online message boards, also commonly referred to as online forums, are different as the information appears as separate posts, as opposed to live chats.

While there are no guarantees, you will find that most online message boards, especially those that are designed for children and teenagers are monitored by a trusted adult. This means that offensive posts should be removed in a timely matter.

 

 

Roxy-Publishing.com, Nick Naggar

 

 

 

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5 Reasons Why the Internet Can Be Dangerous for Children and Teens

Computers

 

5 Reasons Why the Internet Can Be Dangerous for Children and Teens


Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who wants to use the internet, if they donít already?

 

Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who wants to use the internet, if they donít already? If so, you may have some concerns. Yes, it is typically safe for your child to use the internet to do research for school projects, but did you also know that children and teens are now using it to communicate with their friends or other internet users? This is how and when using the internet at a young age can become a problem.

As important as it is to hear that your child can find themselves in trouble online, if you do not know what internet safety steps can help to protect them, you may be looking for more information. You also may be curious as to what it is about the internet that can be so dangerous. For your convenience, five reasons why internet use can be dangerous for children and teenagers are highlighted below.

 

 

1   False Identities Are Easy to Create

Making new friends online is easy and convenient, but it is much different than doing so in person. Why? Because you canít see who is at the other end of the computer. The internet makes it easy for someone to be anyone else in the world. For example, if your child is using social networking websites online, they have to enter in their age. They could easily lie themselves or they could be talking to someone else who is.

 

 

2   Internet Predators

As it was previously stated, the internet makes it easy to create a new, false identity. Often times, the individuals who lie about their ages are internet predators. They are the ones who target children, like yours. Unfortunately, many children, teenagers, and their parents cannot tell an internet predator until it is too late, like when the predators try to approach your child or contact them in person.

 

 

3   So Many Websites To Choose From

What is nice about the internet is that you have so many websites to choose from. In fact, that is why it is a good way to research school projects. With that said, having so many websites to choose from can be dangerous. Your child can gain access to social networking websites, adult chat rooms, pornographic websites, and websites that are violent in nature. Unless you have parental controls set up, your child can easily access any type of website with a standard internet search.

 

 

4   Not All Information Is Private

Unfortunately, many individuals, including both children and parents, do not know that the information that is posted online isnít always private. For starters, most teens have their MySpace profiles set to public, as opposed to private. This means that anyone can view it. There are also online message boards that are indexed by the search engines. This means that others can view the conversations that were discussed, even years down the road.

 

 

5   They Are In Control

When your child uses the internet, they are the ones who are in control. This can be okay if your child is older and mature, but you honestly never know. You may ask your child not to communicate with strangers online, give out their phone numbers, or share pictures with strangers, but that doesnít mean that they will follow your rules. For that reason, if you do let your child use the internet, be sure to monitor their use.

 

Nick Naggar, editor

 

 

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4 Signs That Your Teenager May Be In Trouble Online

4 Signs That Your Teenager May Be In Trouble Online

Are you a parent who has a teenager who uses the internet?

Computers

 

 

Are you a parent who has a teenager who uses the internet?  If you are, do you know that your teenager may run into trouble online? Their chances increase when they are using the internet to socialize with friends or make new friends. Your child may unintentionally fall victim to a child predator online or they may be harassed by those that they know online. But, would you know if your child is in trouble?

 

For your convenience, there are four signs that your teenager may be in trouble online. If any of these signs apply to your child, you will want to take action right away.

 

1   They Get on the Computer at the Same Time Everyday

What many parents do not realize is that children and teenagers can easily become targets of online child predators. Many also do not realize that this process doesnít always happen overnight. Some child predators pretend to be the ages of their targets. They then work to gain the trust of those targets. This can take a few days or a few weeks. You may be able to tell if this is happening though if your child gets on the internet at the same time, every single day. This is a good sign that they are communicating directly with someone, who may not have pure intentions.

 

2  They Are Secretive When They Use the Computer

How does your child act when they are using the computer? Does your child try to hide what they are doing online from you? If they automatically shut off the computer or put a game on the screen, they may be trying to prevent you from seeing what they are doing online. This is a good sign that your child may be doing something they shouldnít be doing online, like having direct, personal conversations with a stranger, who may be a child predator.

 

3  They Are Very Happy When Getting Off the Computer

If your child is overly happy when they sign off the internet, they may be on the path to trouble. This sign can be a little bit tricky though. Your child may be happy because they just finished a long school project, but you honestly never know. If your teenager is communicating with someone online, they may be in the process of starting a relationship, which they are happy about. Unfortunately, many teenagers do not realize that anyone can hide behind a computer. That is why it is important that you talk to your child about the dangers of starting an online romance.

 

4   They Are Very Depressed

As previously stated, your child may be very happy when using the internet, but another warning sign is that they are depressed, especially when they sign off the computer. What many parents do not realize is that other teenagers use the internet for harassment. If your teenager has a falling out with one of their friends, they may find themselves being harassed online. If that is the case, your child may seem very down, depressed, and withdrawn.

The four above mentioned signs are just a few of the many that you will want to look for to see if your child is in trouble online. With that said, there are additional signs that you will want to be on the lookout for, the biggest being a change in behavior. If you do suspect that your child has or is about to run into trouble online, be sure to talk to them and as soon as possible.

 

 

Nick Naggar, Roxy-Publishing.com

 

Nick Naggar is a roaming publisher.

 

 

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