Online Security » Protect Yourself and Your Family » Protect Your Children
Protect Your Children
The misuse of personal information is a serious problem that requires a great deal of attention and action. Parents and authorities can prevent children from being victimized. According to recent studies, 13 percent of Americans aged under 55 are victims of Identity Theft.
Thus, we wonder how much are children exposed. It is a fact that a large number of kids and youngsters are subjected to inappropriate and sometimes dangerous experiences both in the real world and online.
As a parent, you are entitled to chose what is best for your children. So, why not protect them while they are surfing on the Internet? Most of the times it is up to you to establish what your children can and cannot see while they are online; it is up to you to maintain an appropriate and safe environment for your children.
Let them know that sometimes people are not exactly what they pretend to be. Give your children a helping hand by keeping an open-hearted communication, help them to get acquainted with the bright side of the Internet, that is, its valuable resources and educational encounters and provide them with a positive and safe online experience.
When it comes to the Internet not only its benefits should be taken into account, but also its flaws and dangers: indecencies, obscenities, exposure to pornography and sexual predators.
Be aware of online threats and take steps to protect your children! Read more on this topic...
Risks Over The Internet
In the vast world wide web, children may become easy prays for predators. Do you know what threatens your children's security when they are online?
Unsolicited emails (spams), Instant Messaging, chat rooms, websites, newsgroups and their "side effects" are just a few of online threats that can radically influence your children's life and evolution.
Personal and financial data loss. Providing personal information about themselves and their family (passwords, credit card information, etc.) may have negative legal or financial consequences.
Exposure to inappropriate contents. Children may be exposed to inappropriate materials (sexual or violent) and to illegal and dangerous practices encouraged by malicious persons on the Internet.
Any child with unrestricted Internet access is free to view pictures (sometimes accidentally) while accessing obscene sites or deliberately searching them out.
According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children ( 10/8/03), more than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the Internet every week. This statement should arise questions on how to prevent children from being the victims of online pornography.
Most of the time children access porn sites unintentionally. In their attempt to attract as many visitors as possible, these websites make use of some tricks, such as:
- use popular terms or innocent word(s) searchers that are common in children' search for websites destined to them. Unfortunately search engines do not distinguish between adult's and children's search terms.
- misleading URLs. Pornographers purchase domain names such as the .com equivalent of a popular .gov or .org website, knowing that web surfers will end up on their pornographic site instead of their desired destination.
- make use of popular characters' names from cartoons or fairy tales, such as Barbie, Pokemon, Disney, to entice them.
- through spams containing deceptive headings children are mislead to open emails. They can find here links to pornographic sites. Neither the children nor the adults are able to determine the email's content until it is opened and read. By that time the damage is done.
- some web pages automatically lead children to adult websites, without even choosing to click on a link.
- there are pages that insistently ask you if you want to view indecent photos and by the time you answer, the content is already displayed.
- chat rooms and Instant Massages are used by predators either to make sexual solicitations or to send pornographic contents. In 2001 it was estimated that almost 90% of sexual solicitations were made in chat rooms or Instant Messages (Pew Study reported in JAMA, 2001). For the time being, it is less likely for tings to have changed.
Once children are exposed to pornography on the Internet, the consequences are multiple: values and attitudes are altered, their development and identity are subjected to major changes, sexual addiction, illness may appear or they even may become victims of sexual abuse.
Exposure to other dangers, such as rugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, etc. Some websites provide information that arouse children's curiosity regarding negative things, or just sustain their consumption. Be aware that any kind of information may be accessed by your children (even how to make a weapon or bomb), unless their access on the Internet is restricted.