If you are concerned about the safety of your children while they surf online, here are a few ideas to help you keep them safe. The media regularly features stories about computer problems with children including stalking and pornography rings. As much as its difficult to believe our own children can become involved in such things, the vast majority of kids who roam freely on the Internet not only come across pornography but also very often are approached for sex in chat rooms regardless of their age.
Posting rules near your computer and being aware of your child’s activities can be helpful. Some things you can write are:
- Only chat with people you know
- Don’t give out your personal information
- Use a child-safe browser or web community only
- Limit times they can use the computer
- Keep an eye on what they are doing
While they are younger, you can easily manage their online activities to keep them safe. This isn’t going to continue to be so easy as they get older and use the computer more often and less often in your presence. Child predators and pedophiles often stalk children on the Internet. They hide in chat rooms and pose as children themselves in order to engage kids in conversations. Over time some of them try to build trust with your kids and may try to arrange to meet them or request information such as photographs.
As much as parents do their best to instill rules in their kids to keep them from making poor choices online, many kids feel invincible and are without fear. If you are concerned that your children aren’t following the rules you’ve set for the computer and you find it difficult to police them, you may want to install software that monitors their behavior and sends the information to you. By installing this type of software, you can run it discreetly on the computer and have it tell you:
- Which websites are being visited
- What programs are being downloaded
- What files are being uploaded
- Logs of Chat conversations
- Views of the desktop (screen snaps)
This type of program is easy to find and not at all difficult to run and install. You don’t have to be a technical person to uncover the truth about what’s going on with your computer. You can download a program and try before you buy. Obtaining this information may be necessary for you to intercept and confront the problem. It’s unfortunate that parents do sometimes have to breach their child’s privacy but in order to determine if there’s a cause for concern, logging their computer activity may be necessary.