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Category: Leisure
Leisure

Understanding the Dangers of Online Predators

Surfing the Web is not only fun and educational for young children, it can also be dangerous. There are more pedophiles searching through the modem lines today then there were just five years ago on the playgrounds throughout the world. Why? Because that is where they can earn young children’s trust, by making them believe they are a friend and someone their age.

Think of the difference of seeing a creep at a park, you know to run to your parents and hide behind their protective arms. Now think of a chat room with tons of other teens giggling, laughing and talking about how their BF (best friend) is making them ROFLOL (rolling on the floor laughing out loud)! Pedophiles only have to know a little lingo to gain your child’s trust and make them think they are just another kid hanging out.

In an article written by Robert B. Fried, BS, MS titled The Internet: A Breeding Ground for Online Pedophiles concerning chat rooms Mr. Fried states, “It is also here were many offenders prey on vulnerable youngsters. One such example is known as a ‘chicken hawk E which refers to an online pedophile who uses chat lines and member profiles to locate potential victims, sometimes posing as another youth to establish a bond. EYou can read the entire article at http://www.crime-scene-investigator.net/OnlinePred.pdf It is a PDF file so you must have Adobe Reader to view the file.

Preschool
Be sure to have safe websites on hand, under your Favorites list that has learning games and things for your preschoolers to do. These should actually be the only web sites your child visits when they do go online.

Use game sites that will teach your children about some of the dangers on line, such as: http://www.netsmartzkids.org there is nothing more practical for young viewers than fun that teaches them a lesson.

Main points to address:

  • Never leave a child online alone in this age category.
  • Have a variety of safe sites for a fun and safe environment for your child.
  • Use games that teach and entertain.

Grades K-3rd
Although it is not recommended for children to be online alone in this age group, you can allow them to freely explore the Internet with you in the same room or at an arms reach. Yet, before you do allow them to be alone on the net sit down with your child and set up “house rules Efor the computer.

Establish your concerns and the type of web sites you are okay with them visiting, such as age appropriate web sites and sites that have chat rooms. You can use web filters, while you are giving them the freedom to browse, which only allow certain types of web sites to be displayed while your child is browsing.

Where email is concerned only allow your child to use a family address until they reach the 6th grade. This email address should be easy to remember for the entire family and set up with the password preinstalled for easy checking.

Main points to address:

  • It is still not recommended that children in this age group be online alone.
  • Keep a family e-mail address ourfamily@myisp.com, instead of giving them their own address.
  • Establish house rules for when you are not right there with your child.

Grades 4th-6th
It is okay to allow this age group to be online alone, although you should establish house rules so your children know exactly what type of web sites they can visit, be sure to outline safety precautions. Tell them the truth about your concerns, girls have been abducted and perused by sick minded strangers who try to kidnap children. The slightest slip of a school, neighboring community, sport leagues or other local spots can give a pedophile the right motivation to find a child that he/she has been talking to online.

Let them know it’s important to trust their instincts, if something online makes them feel nervous they should share that information with you. If there is someone on a message board or chat room that just doesn’t seem right tell them to let you know, this could be followed up with the local authorities (on which board or chat room it is and the person’s online name) or Cyber Angels (http://www.cyberangels.org).

You should also check the web sites your child visits, not as a nosey parent but as a precautionary parent. You can do so by looking at your temporary Internet files or the history files on your Internet browser.

To review your temporary files using Internet Explorer complete the following steps:

  1. While in your Internet Explorer click tools and then select Internet Options.
  2. Once the window pops up click on the General tab, click Settings under the Browsing History or Temporary Internet Files.
  3. On the Internet Files window find View Files and click it. The window that pops up will show every website ever browsed from that computer.

Main points to address:

  • Regularly review the web sites your children view by going to the Internet temporary files on your computer.
  • Establish house rules for this age group.
  • If you allow them to have their own e-mail address, be sure to set parental control filters so adult content or Spam can not get through your child’s mailbox.

Check the sites your children review.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Tools for safety for your computer:

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