Children & the Internet

I've heard all kinds of nightmare stories concerning children and the Internet, but I have never had to deal with it myself. Parents have told me that their children love surfing the web for their studies in school. And I've seen many who do just that and never run into trouble or use it unwisely. Then, there are other children who have no clue to what might await them on the Internet. I don't claim to be an expert in this area, but it seems to me that parents need to supervise their children and know exactly what that child is doing and why. It could avoid trouble and save your child from predators just waiting for that lonely child who's parents aren't watching.

You hear about the child on the news or in the newspaper who got on the Internet and started chatting with the wrong person. The person turns out to be that predator that every parent worries about at some point while raising a family. The children needs parents supervision so that they don't run into people of this nature, and also, so they learn the proper route to take in any given situation. Especially when it comes to dealing with the Internet and the dangers that it can hold for them these days. Without you, their parents, they are a target. Yes, a target, you read it right. And if you're not watching, Lord only knows what might be out there for them.

I don't mean to scare the pants off you, and I don't mean for you to panic. The situation is clear as day is light and night is dark. The one thing that bothers me is that most people go around with the attitude that it can't happen to their child. Wrong attitude to have for one reason, it can happen to any child and it can happen right under your noise. Don't just ask you child what they're doing. Ask what, where, how, when and why, especially on the Internet. Insist on being home while your child is on the Internet no matter what their reason for being on the Internet. And if they're in a chat room, insist on knowing who they are chatting with. I know I would be doing these types of things if it were my child.

Teaching your children these things about the Internet is the same as teaching them to never open the door to a stranger when you're not home. If they know the ropes and can tell who is harmful and who isn't, then your job becomes easier. But you and I as adults, have to teach them what to look for. I know, you're asking by now, "Will they listen to me?" Yes, if you teach in a way that they will understand and be able to grasp the concepts of safety on the Internet. Otherwise, they're just targets waiting to happen. And I'm sure you don't what that to happen, I know I don't. Not for your child or anyone else's for that matter.

I'm about to list some good things for your children to know and do, but first, you must understand that I'm not an expert in any way, shape or form. I'm telling you what most parents should know before they allow their children on the Internet from my point of view.

In teaching your children about the Internet and dangers it can hold for them, you should teach them the following:

  1. Never, for any reason, should they give their real name. Always use a nick name that they like so their true identity isn't known.

  2. Never, for any reason, give out their street address, city/town lived in, state lived in or telephone number. This is only asking for trouble.

  3. Never, for any reason, agree to meet someone away from home or even at home that they met on the Internet.

  4. Explain to your child what inappropriate behavior is and what types of behavior is acceptable. This can be anything you deem necessary to teach your child. I will not tell you.

  5. Teach your child that nothing is acceptable without prior permission from you if any of these things comes up between them and other children, even on the Internet. You CANNOT be to careful.

  6. Teach them everything you teach them for when they're home alone and then some.

I believe that these are the most important things to teach your children about the Internet and how to handle it at a young age. Myself, if I had a child to teach these things to, I'd never let them online until at least the age of 12 and maybe not even then without parent supervision. You say I sound a bit hard, well, I say one can NEVER be too careful.

Ok, you say that I'm adult and know the ropes. Yes, but even I don't give out the information above for any reason. Why? Because it's just as easy for me to become a victim to a predator as it is for a child. Most people don't realize it, but when you use your credit cards and different things on the Internet, you're leaving the door wide open for trouble. Yes, things are becoming more secure for such things, but, they are not that secure that I'm willing to trust. Experienced or not, it's just as important for me to be as careful as what I'm teaching you.


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