Internet Safety Guide For Parents

Before you go to bed at night you lock your doors, perhaps check a few windows, and if you have an alarm system you turn it on to protect your family from potential intruders. There is one more doorway, into the home, that is generally left wide open and unchecked, the Internet, that needs to be secured as well. While you sleep the potential for predators coming into your home is at it’s peak. They could be contacting your children via email, chat rooms, or message boards. Also, your kids could be visiting places you would never allow them to visit or perhaps they are talking to adults about sexual topics thinking it’s just another kid. If they have a web cam or digital camera they may be posting pictures of themselves online. This could be done in the middle of the day, too, if they have a computer in their bedroom or if you allow free unrestricted access to the Internet.

Reading about kids being abused and taken advantage of by people they met on the Internet is becoming all too common. I believe the media is doing a good job of letting us all know the dangers kids face when allowed to have unrestricted access to the Internet. We all know the dangers are real, now it’s time for parents to take appropriate action. From Internet predators, to easily accessible inappropriate media, parents have a real problem on their hands.

Internet safety should be a high priority for all parents. Dateline, NBC’s, “To Catch a Predator”, series has shown us all that Internet predators will go to great lengths and take enormous risks to “hook-up” with a young child. Many of these predators are intelligent, professional, middle-aged men who have learned how to lure our children into a false sense of security and slowly work their way into their world. Predators are learning to use other forms of media also. Media like X-box live and cell phones to reach your kids.

Businesses, law enforcement, schools, even our public officials are all getting involved with Internet safety. We are seeing schools getting involved by having Internet safety courses. There are police officers giving seminars and safety experts covering the topic, there are books available and new laws are being passed almost daily. With all the media coverage and new resources becoming available every day parents, in general, are still doing very little about Internet safety in the home. Most parents still do not have software installed to protect their kids and monitor their usage and many parents still allow their kids to have unrestricted Internet access. Many kids have a computer in their bedroom.

This article is a starting point for all parents to use as their guideline on Internet safety.
My hope is to inform parents about Internet safety and change the way the Internet is dealt with in the home. Tell yourself that today or this weekend you WILL begin making changes to secure your internet as well as you secure the front door.