The Internet can be a fun, educational place for children and
teens—or perhaps a dangerous place. Since there is no entity the
governs the Internet, there are no limits to the material that is
Kids may be exposed to extremely inappropriate
material of a sexual or violent nature.
Kids may provide information or arrange an
encounter that could risk safety. Pedophiles have used online
communication to gain a child's confidence and then arrange a
meeting; that "12-year-old girl" that your child has become
friends with could really be a 40-year-old man.
Kids may get email or bulletin board messages that
are scary, harassing, or demeaning.
Lonely or isolated children and teens can develop
an unhealthy attachment to spending time online. People in "real
life" need to be their best friends and companions!
How to tell if your child's internet use is a Problem
Your child spends an unusual amount of time
online, especially late at night.
The computer or monitor is suddenly switched off
if you enter the room.
Your child uses a large number of disks to store
You find computer disks hidden in unlikely places.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your
Just like with any other activity, be aware of the
time your children are spending online and what they are doing
during that time.
Get to know who there online friends are the same
way you do their other friends.
Keep the computer in a public area, as opposed to
in a child's bedroom.
Encourage your children to let you know about any
threatening or harassing email, and make sure they know that
getting that kind of email doesn't mean they've done something
Make sure your child knows what information is not
okay to give out. Some information that may seem “safe” is not.
Knowledgeable Internet users can sometimes identify your general
geographic location from online interactions, and with a few
details, could be able to locate your child. Tell your child not
to divulge any personal details about themselves such as a last
name, address, phone number, city, or the name of his/her school.
Advise your child check with you first if s/he isn't sure about
any particular question, or if someone is persisting after being
refused personal information.
If you can't monitor your child's Internet use,
consider filtering software that blocks out certain sites or
material. A search engine query for "Internet blocking software"
or "Internet safety" should help you find some alternatives.
Access Control Software
Tell your child to talk to you about anything that
doesn't make sense, or just “feels weird.” If your child is
feeling uncomfortable, there may be a good reason why. And
regardless, the conversation will provide you an opportunity to
help your child learn more about interacting with others, as well
as helping you learn more about how your child perceives the world
Source: Headquarters Counseling Center