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Internet Safety For Kids

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Internet Safety for Kids: How and Why Parents Should Learn About the Internet

Are you the parent of a child who uses the internet or the parent of a child
who will start using the internet soon? If you are, you should know that the
internet is a great way to stay up-to-date on the news, do research for school
projects, and communicate with friends, but it can also be very dangerous. As a
parent, it is your responsibility to make sure that your child stays safe
online. Unfortunately, for this to happen you must know your way around a
computer and the internet. Do you?

A child should never know more than a parent does about the internet. At the
very least, you should know about the same. If you are looking to block adult
websites or websites that have offensive language, it will not do you any good
if your teenager knows ways to get around the parental controls that you set.
That is why it is important that you know how to use a computer and the
internet or learn if you don't know.

Another reason why you should be well educated on the internet and computer use
is because you are better able to fully understand the dangers of them. You may
hear that an internet predator approached or kidnapped a child on the news, but
you may automatically assume that it will not happen to your child.
Unfortunately, until you understand how the internet works, you really have no
idea. Does your child use internet chat rooms or social networking websites? If
so, do you know how easy the internet makes it for someone to create a whole
new, fake identity?

A good understanding of computer and internet use can better enable you to
protect your child. Do you know that Internet Explorer, the browser that comes
standard, has a free parental control option that just needs to be activated? A
few easy steps and you can have certain websites blocked from your child.
Unfortunately, you won't know this if you don't know all that you can know
about the computer or the internet. Speaking of the internet, additional online
safety tools for parents can be purchased online as well.

Now that you know the importance of staying in the know about the internet and
a computer in general, you may be curious as to how you can go about doing so.
The good news is that there are a number of ways that you can learn all that
you need to know about computer and internet use. A few of these ways are
outlined below for your convenience.

Teaching yourself is an easy way to learn about the internet and computer use.
In fact, what better way is there than to just jump on the computer and see
what you can find. For starters, examine your computer or your internet browser
for free internet safety tools for parents. You may also want to visit some of
the websites that your child visits, just to see what they are subjecting
themselves to. Visit their online profile for MySpace, Facebook, or another
social networking website. Does it make you uneasy? Are the discussions taking
place in your child's favorite chat room too adult?

You can also ask a trusted friend or relative for help. Do not ask your child
or teenager for help though. If they know that you want to set up parental
controls or keep tabs on their internet use, they may withhold important
information from you. Instead, invite a trusted friend or relative over for
coffee and lunch and let them show you the ins and outs of the internet. All
you really need is a couple of hours.

You can also take an internet or computer education course. These courses are
sometimes offered for free or for an affordable fee by local community groups,
colleges, or vocational training centers. In fact, see if your child's school
offers anything. Some schools host informational seminars for parents on
internet safety about once a year.

Internet Safety for Kids: Rules to Set for Online Message Boards and Chat Rooms

Is your child or teenager interested in meeting new people online? At this age,
they aren't very likely to meet the person in real life, but communicate through
way of the internet instead. As nice as this sounds, it is important to remember
that it can still be dangerous. Just because your child is talking to someone
who claims to be another teenager, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are.

Since it is relatively easy for false identities to be created online,
especially for internet and child predators, you will want to set strict rules
if you intend to let your child use online message boards and internet chat
rooms to do this communicating. As for what you rules you should set, it will
honestly depend on your child's age. Teenagers may have a little bit more
freedom, but still don't let them use online chat rooms, online message boards,
or the internet in general without at least a few rules.

One of the many rules that you may want to impose, concerning internet chat
rooms and online message boards is approval. Instead of letting your child pick
which websites they want to visit, you can do so for them. Favorite place the
approved message boards and online chat rooms so that your child can easily
find them.

As for how you can find safe chat rooms and message boards for your child to
use, you will want to get started with a standard internet search. Closely
examine all of the websites that appear on your screen. Are private messages
allowed? Most chat rooms and message boards for kids have them disabled, as
this is how many internet predators target children. Also, look for moderated
forums and chat rooms, as this means that all content is reviewed by an adult.

You may also want to set rules as to when your child can use an online message
board or an internet chat room. For example, only allow your child to
communicate and socialize online when you are at home or even in the same room.
This internet safety for kids step works pretty well, especially for teenagers.
They are less likely to have adult conversations, share personal information,
or exchange pictures or videos when you are in the same room or when they know
that they are being watched.

It is also a good idea to limit the amount of time that your child can use
online message boards or internet chat rooms. It often takes internet predators
more than one discussion to gain the trust of a child target. For that reason,
you will want to be cautious if your child signs onto the internet at the same
time everyday. Ask your child if they can wait until later or start using the
internet earlier. If they can't or don't want to, they may be meeting someone
online to talk directly to. That is why it is always a good idea to limit when
your child can use online message boards and chat rooms and for how long.

You should prohibit your child from posting pictures or videos of themselves
online, as this makes them an easy target. If your child wants to post a
picture, have them pick out a generic picture online, of like a football or a
flower. Also, do not let your child exchange personal information online.
Remember that they are not the only ones in danger if your child gives away
your address or phone number, as the rest of your family may end up in danger
as well.

Internet Safety for Kids: Online Chat Rooms versus Online Message Boards

Are you the parent of a teenager or a child who would like to use the internet
to meet and communicate with others who share similar interests? If so, your
child may be interested in using an online chat room. Although online chat
rooms are a nice and easy way to talk, it is important to remember that not all
online chat rooms are safe. That is why many parents often opt for message
boards instead, but is it really a safer option?

Even if you aren't an avid internet user yourself, you likely know that online
message boards and online chat rooms are different. Online chat rooms have live
communication appearing on the screen. Conversations are held at that very
moment. Instead, online message boards involve communications that may carry on
for days or even weeks. There are also more detailed and themed discussed that
occur on message boards, as opposed to chat rooms. Common topics discussed
include homework, parents, pets, music and sports.

As for why some parents prefer online message boards, as opposed to internet
chat rooms, it is because the conversations are not live. Yes, multiple posters
may be online at the same time, but it is common for someone to post a topic and
not get a response for a few hours or even a day or two. In fact, if your child
makes a post about their new pet, someone may ask about their pet or
congratulate them when they aren't even online themselves. This gives many
parents comfort and peace of mind.

Another reason why some parents prefer letting their children use online
message boards, as opposed to online chat rooms, is because most message boards
are monitored by a trusted adult, who is sometimes paid for their work. This
means that all offensive posts should be removed in a relatively short period
of time. Many times, the moderator will also ban that user from returning.

In keeping with the monitoring of content, is important to remember that not
all message boards are moderated. You will, however, find that a good
percentage are. In fact, most message boards for adults also have someone who
reviews the content. With that said, there is no harm in checking. In fact, the
same should be done with internet chat rooms.

If a chat room for children or teenagers is only open for a few hours a day, as
opposed to 24 hours a day, there is a good chance that a monitor is present.
This may give you some comfort and peace of mind. Also, be sure to examine
internet chat rooms and message boards for kids that do not allow other users
to privately communicate with each other through the use of private messages,
also commonly known as a PM.

Whether you let your child use an online chat room or an online message board,
you should first check it out for yourself. Visit a chat room. Do not talk to
anyone, but see for about five minutes what type of content is being talked
about. The same should be done with online message boards for kids. Do you
think that the content is safe or do any chatters or posters seem too mature
for the room or message board?

As for how you can go about finding online message boards and chat rooms that
are safe for your child to visit or to checkout for yourself first, you may
want to perform a standard internet search. Search with a phrase like "safe
online messages boards for children." There are also television networks, like
Nick and The N, which are designed for both teens and tweens, that have online
message boards. They can allow your child to chat with others who like the same
shows.

As highlighted above, internet chat rooms and online message boards can be safe
for your child to use, as long as they know the dangers. Also, be sure to
checkup on your child from time to time. Make sure that they are using a safe
message board and chat room and make sure that they aren't exchanging personal
information online.

Internet Safety for Kids: The Importance of Monitoring Your Child's MySpace Use

If you are an avid internet user, there is a good chance that you have heard of
MySpace before. As an avid internet user, you likely already know that MySpace
is a social networking site that has took the internet by storm. As neat as
MySpace looks from the standpoint of an internet user, you also need to look at
it from the standpoint of a parent if you are one.

So, are you a parent whose child uses the internet? If you are, there is a good
chance that your child is also using MySpace. Do you know? You may be surprised
just how many junior high school and high school students use MySpace as a way
to communicate with friends, as well as a way to meet new friends. Although all
websites have the potential to be dangerous, MySpace, you can say, has an
increased risk. For that reason, it is important to monitor your child's use of
MySpace.

As important as it is to hear that MySpace can be dangerous for children and
teenagers, you may be looking for more information. Many parents are unaware of
the dangers that MySpace and the internet in general holds. The best way to
protect your child online and on MySpace is to be aware.

One reason why you need to monitor your child's use of MySpace is because of
internet predators, which are also often sexual predators. MySpace makes it
easy for strangers to communicate with each other. The internet in general
makes it easy to be someone else, like someone a lot younger or someone a lot
older. Your child may end up talking to a 50 year old man or women, who
pretends to be someone their age. For that reason, you need to monitor your
child's MySpace account. Make sure that they are not sharing personal
information online, such as their full name, phone number, or address.

Another one of the many reasons why you should monitor your child's use of
MySpace is because of pictures and video. MySpace allows all internet users to
post pictures and videos. In fact, it is relatively easy to do so. All profiles
that are public can be viewed by others. In keeping with internet predators,
MySpace also records and posts your child's location, such as the city and
state. Posting this information, along with their first name, the school, and a
personal photo or video can make it easier for your children to be found, even
by those who they haven't made direct contact with online.

Although internet predators are often the biggest threat of children using the
internet and MySpace, there is another danger that lurks. There have been
multiple news reports that highlight children, mostly teenagers, who have been
suspended from school, suspended from sports teams, or arrested. This is often
the result of a MySpace user posting pictures or videos of them doing something
illegal, like stealing, doing drugs, or drinking underage. If this is
information that your child has on their MySpace page, you will want to see it
and get it removed before their school or the authorities do.

Now that you know some of the dangers that children face when using MySpace,
you may be curious as to how you can go about protecting them. First, make sure
you know if your child has a MySpace account. You can view your computer's
history or perform a search on the MySpace.com page to see if your child has a
profile listed. If they do, view their profile. You should talk to your child
about the dangers of MySpace anyways, but you should definitely talk to them if
you see something disturbing on their MySpace page. This should include
conversations that take a sexual tone or the exchange of personal information.

As a reminder, the monitoring of your child's MySpace use is extremely
important. No matter how mature or reliable your child is, they may
unintentionally become a victim.

How to Protect Your Child When Using the Internet

Are you the parent of a child or a teen who uses the internet? If so, you
likely already know that the internet can be a dangerous place for a child,
especially if your child uses online chat rooms or social networking websites.
For that reason, there are a number of steps that you, as a parent, will want
to take to protect your child when they use the internet.

The first step that you should take, to help keep your child safe online, is to
know as much as you can about computers and the internet. Did you know that
there are ways for you to see which websites have been visited on a computer?
Did you know that some computers already have parental controls installed on
them that just need to be set? You can only benefit from these tools that can
help to protect your child if you know that they do exist.

Speaking of parental controls, be sure to know what your computer has. If you
have an older model computer, you may benefit from purchasing additional
software programs. These programs can easily be found for sale online or in
most media or office supply stores. As for the programs that may already be on
your computer, open up a new Internet Explorer window. From the main headings
at the top of the page, click on "Tools," and then "Internet Options." A new
window will appear; highlight the "Content," tab and right away you will see an
option that lets you block certain content from showing on a computer.

In keeping with parental controls, don't give into a child who complains about
them being used. If you create a password to override these controls, which you
may need if your whole family shares a computer, that password can also be used
for your teenager. Don't give them the password though. Use it to unblock
certain sites that they ask and you first approve.

Another easy way that you can protect your child when they use the internet is
to have the computer in a frequently traveled room. You can also limit the use
of certain websites, like social networking websites or internet chat rooms.
Make them only available when you are home or in the same room. If your child
has their own computer, like a laptop that they can take anywhere with them, be
sure to check the internet history of their computer randomly every week or so.

Speaking of which, do not let your child have their own login information. When
you first turn on a computer, you often see a button that says someone's name.
Many families use one standard account. Your child can easily create their own.
If they do, do not let them have their own password. This can make it difficult
or impossible for you to examine their online activities. Having you checkup on
their online activities may not be something that your teen likes, but you
likely purchased the computer and you, as the parent, have the right to check.

As it was previously stated, you will want to check the internet history of a
child who has their own computer or if your child uses the family computer when
you are not home. If you have Internet Explorer, which most computers do, open a
new internet window. Towards the top of the page, you will see a menu bar with a
number of pictured icons. You can check the history of a computer by clicking on
the icon with a clock and a small green arrow. This should tell you which
websites your teenager has been viewing online.

Finally, it is important that you talk with your teenager about the dangers of
using the internet, namely social networking websites or internet chat rooms.
Teach them what to do if they are harassed online or approached by an internet
predator. Make sure they know not to erase the information, but rather to save
it or show it to you right away, especially if you decide to contact your local
police department.

Internet Safety Rules to Establish with Your Children

Are you the parent of a child who has recently started using the internet or
are you the parent of a child who will soon start? When a child reaches about
junior high school, they rely on the internet to do many school research
projects. However, as a parent, it is important to remember that research isn't
all that the internet is used for. Many children and teens use the internet as
an easy way to communicate with their friends or even to make new friends.

The ability to use the internet to make new friends and communicate with
current friends sounds pretty neat at first glance, but it is important to take
a closer look. Did you know that sexual predators often use the internet to
target unsuspecting children and teenagers? Anyone can hide behind a computer
and create a new identity. That is why it is important that you, as a parent,
set rules for your child when they use the internet.

For starters, let your child know that they cannot give out their personal
information online. There is absolutely no reason why they should give anyone
their address or phone number online. Make sure that your child knows that just
because the person they are talking to online claims to be a 16 year old boy or
girl, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are.

It is also important to prevent your child from posting personal pictures or
videos of themselves online. Unfortunately, this is something that many
children do. Visit MySpace.com, which is a popular social networking website.
You will soon see that just about every member, even children and teenagers,
post pictures of themselves online. This can be dangerous, especially when
other information, like a city or town or school, is divulged. If your child
wants to post pictures or videos online, be sure to at least review them
yourself first.

Make sure your child knows that they are not allowed to meet, in person, with
anyone who they meet online. This is important, as this is how many children
and teenagers fall victim to internet predators and sexual predators. Yes, the
person who they are talking to on the computer may be who they say they are,
but are you willing to take that chance? If an in person meeting does take
place and you know about it, attend with your child. Let multiple people know
where you are going and who you are meeting with. Be sure to do so in a public
place.

It is also important that you set rules for the use of internet chat rooms and
social networking websites. For starters, if you don't want your child to use
these things, don't let them. Monitor your child if use if they do. For
example, make sure you are in the room if your child is using an internet chat
room. As for social networking websites, make your child set their profile to
private. You will also want to regularly check it yourself to make sure that
personal information, like your home phone number or home address, isn't posted.

One problem that many parents face is checking up on their children online. It
is no secret that most children know their way around a computer nowadays. You
cannot check the internet history of your computer, which tells you which
websites have been visited, if your child clears it on a daily basis. That is
why you should establish rules on this and other similar practices.

The above mentioned rules should help to prevent your child from running into
problems online, but you honestly never know. Make sure that your child knows
to come to you immediately if they receive threatening, harassing, or sexual
messages online. Make sure they also know to show you the message or to save it
for your viewing, as opposed to just deleting it from the screen. Protection may
be available for you by way of your local police department.

Finally, make sure that your child knows that all of the rules you set
concerning internet use apply to all computer use, not just on the computer at
home.

Internet and Kids: How Young Is Too Young?

Are you a parent? If you are, you may be curious as to when children regularly
start using the internet. In all honesty, you will find that it depends. There
are some parents who start their children with using a computer and the
internet right away and others wait until their children need to do so for
school. So, how young is too young for your child to use the internet?

What many parents, especially first time parents, do not realize is that some
elementary schools teach their children how to use a computer as young as first
grade. Of course, they may not learn how to surf the internet, but they do often
learn the basics. These basics may include learning how to type, how to turn on
a computer, how to use a computer mouse, and so froth.

In keeping with young age, there are many parents who allow their toddlers and
preschoolers to play computer games. Although software for those games can be
purchased online or in most media stores, some parents turn to the internet.
The good news about this approach is that many trusted websites, like those for
Nick Jr, PBS Kids, and PlayHouse Disney do not have harmful advertisements on
their websites that your child could accidentally click on.

Young elementary school children are also likely to use the internet and a
computer in general to play computer games. Towards the fifth or sixth grade,
children may start to use the internet to do research for school projects. This
is when it is really important to start monitoring your child's use of the
internet. Even if your child doesn't use online social networking websites, use
internet chat rooms, or visit pornographic websites, it doesn't mean that they
can't accidentally come across them. Some websites are not very careful with
what advertisements they show.

Junior high school and high school students, honestly, need the most monitoring
online. These are students who not only use the internet to research, but to
communicate with their friends and to make new friends. Unfortunately, not all
teenagers are educated on the dangers that lurk online, especially where
internet chat rooms and social networking websites are concerned.

So, is your child ready to use a computer and the internet? As stated above, it
is your decision to make. With that being said, be sure to use your best
judgment and be sure to establish some firm ground rules. Children who are at
least seven years of age should never be allowed to use a computer alone.
Strict rules should be imposed for older children.

Speaking of internet safety rules, be sure to make your views on social
networking websites and internet chat rooms clear. If you don't want your child
to use them, state so. If they are allowed, establish rules. A few rules to get
you started involve making a social networking website profiles private, not
communicating directly with strangers, not trading personal information online,
and not posting personal pictures or videos online. As a reminder, you have the
ability to determine when and where you child can access the internet. Just be
sure that if you do allow your child to use the internet that you establish
ground rules. Even toddlers and preschoolers should be able to follow these
rules, such as only playing games on the website you get them set on.

Parents: What You Need to Know About Social Networking Websites

Are you the parent of a teenager? If you are, there is a good chance that your
child is interested in using social networking websites, like MySpace, if they
don't already. Although these websites are a nice way to stay in contact with
friends, especially those who may have moved away, they can also be dangerous.
That is why, as a parent, you should learn as much as you can about popular
social networking websites.

It is first important to know that social networking websites, especially
MySpace, are popular. Even if you think that your teenager isn't using them,
they may be. This is because most high school and junior high school students
think that social networking websites, like MySpace, are "cool." In fact,
MySpace and other similar websites are hot topics that are discussed in many
schools across the country.

As popular as social networking websites are, it is important to also know that
they can be dangerous. This doesn't, however, mean that you automatically have
to ban your child from using them. As the parent, you have the right to control
which websites your child visits in your home and on your computer, but
knowledge is key. If your child knows the dangers that lurk on social
networking websites, they are better able to protect themselves and use social
networking websites as they were meant to be used, to easily and safely
communicate with friends.

What you also need to know about social networking websites is that just about
anyone can read what your child posts online. That is why children, typically
those under the age of 18, should have their profiles set to private. This way,
only those who are accepted as their friends can see what they have posted.
Otherwise, your teenager daughter may innocently post a picture from last
summer's pool party and a child predator could get the wrong impression or want
to target your daughter just because of that otherwise innocent photo they were
able to view.

Speaking of internet predators, they have been known to target social
networking websites. What is so concerning about this is that many teens and
their parents don't realize that they are dealing with an internet predator
until it becomes too late. Just because an internet user has a profile and
pictures that make them look like a 15 year old boy or girl, it doesn't mean
that they are the same age as your child. In fact, they could even be a
registered sex offender.

As it was previously stated, pictures or videos that a child posts on their
MySpace page or the page of another social networking profile can be viewed and
misinterpreted by others. There are also other dangers associated with posting
personal pictures and videos. As cool as your teenager may think it is to have
a picture or video of them doing a prank or drinking, it could land them into a
lot of trouble. Many schools and police departments are starting to use MySpace
and other social networking websites to their advantage. Your teen may find
themselves in trouble with the law, suspended from school, or suspended from
their extra curricular activities.

It is also important to know that some social networking websites make it easy
for your child's real identity to be discovered. This could lead to someone
showing up at your door, stalking your child, sending them letters, or even
calling your home. For example, MySpace posts your location online, which often
includes your city and state. There is also a spot where your child can enter in
what school they attend. Combine this with a picture and your teen can easily
become a target.

As previously stated, social networking websites can be dangerous, but that
danger decreases when your child is aware of it. Ways that you can protect your
child involve having them set all social networking profiles to private.
Establish rules about accepting new online friends. You will also want to view
your child's profile from time to time. Are any personal pictures or videos
posted? If so, you may want to have your child remove them. Also, make sure
that no personal information, including full name, address, phone number, and
school name, is divulged.

Parental Controls for the Internet: How to Use Them

Are you a parent who has recently decided that you would like to keep your
child safe when they use the internet? If you are, you may want to use internet
parental controls. They are one of the best internet safety steps that you can
take to protect your child.

As nice as it is to hear that internet parental controls can help to protect
your child from danger online, you may be curious as to how they work or how
you can get started with them. Although you will find some variances, most
parental controls for the internet are free, cheap, and extremely easy to set
up.

If you are using Internet Explorer as your internet browser, which most
computer users have, you have parental controls that are built right into your
computer! How neat is that? To set these parental controls, you will want to
open up a new internet window, just like you would when surfing the web. Next,
select "Tools," and then "Internet Options," from the dropdown menu. A new
window will appear and then you can click on the "Content," tab. Enabling the
content advisor will allow you to start protecting your child online.

Although Internet Explorer comes standard on most computers, there are some
internet users who use FireFox instead. If you are using FireFox, setting
parental controls for the internet isn't as easy as it is with Internet
Explorer. This is because there are not any built-in controls. With that said,
they do make it easy for you to get them. The main website for FireFox has
links to add-ons that you can easily use and install. Many of these add-ons are
free of charge.

AOL is another common internet browser that is used. AOL also has parental
controls that are easy for you to use. AOL provides parents, like yourself,
with the largest options. In addition to customizing your options, AOL also has
preset controls. These controls are based on a child's age range. Even if you
choose to set your own options, these are great guides to follow, especially if
you are unfamiliar with computers.

Now that you know you have a number of different options, when looking to get
started with parental controls, you may be curious how you can make the most
out of them. Some parental controls allow you to set ratings for certain
websites and choose levels that you want to accept. For example, Internet
Explorer can allow you to block websites that focus on just fighting or you can
go higher up and block websites that have blood and gore for content. This
option is nice, but it may unintentionally end up blocking some "safe websites."

A more direct approach to take is to outright block the websites that you don't
want your child to visit. The parental controls that come with Internet Explorer
easily allow you to do this. What you will want to do is perform a standard
internet search to find these websites. For example, if you want to block
social networking websites, perform a standard internet search with the phrase
"social networking websites." Any websites that you find, you can simply just
add them to your blocked list.

As you can see, parental controls are easy to install and you have a number of
different options. That is why you should get them set as soon as possible.

4 Signs That Your Teenager May Be In Trouble Online

Are you a parent who has a teenager who uses the internet? If you are, do you
know that your teenager may run into trouble online? Their chances increase
when they are using the internet to socialize with friends or make new friends.
Your child may unintentionally fall victim to a child predator online or they
may be harassed by those that they know online. But, would you know if your
child is in trouble?

For your convenience, there are four signs that your teenager may be in trouble
online. If any of these signs apply to your child, you will want to take action
right away.

1 -- They Get on the Computer at the Same Time Everyday

What many parents do not realize is that children and teenagers can easily
become targets of online child predators. Many also do not realize that this
process doesn't always happen overnight. Some child predators pretend to be the
ages of their targets. They then work to gain the trust of those targets. This
can take a few days or a few weeks. You may be able to tell if this is
happening though if your child gets on the internet at the same time, every
single day. This is a good sign that they are communicating directly with
someone, who may not have pure intentions.

2 -- They Are Secretive When They Use the Computer

How does your child act when they are using the computer? Does your child try
to hide what they are doing online from you? If they automatically shut off the
computer or put a game on the screen, they may be trying to prevent you from
seeing what they are doing online. This is a good sign that your child may be
doing something they shouldn't be doing online, like having direct, personal
conversations with a stranger, who may be a child predator.

3 -- They Are Very Happy When Getting Off the Computer

If your child is overly happy when they sign off the internet, they may be on
the path to trouble. This sign can be a little bit tricky though. Your child
may be happy because they just finished a long school project, but you honestly
never know. If your teenager is communicating with someone online, they may be
in the process of starting a relationship, which they are happy about.
Unfortunately, many teenagers do not realize that anyone can hide behind a
computer. That is why it is important that you talk to your child about the
dangers of starting an online romance.

4 -- They Are Very Depressed

As previously stated, your child may be very happy when using the internet, but
another warning sign is that they are depressed, especially when they sign off
the computer. What many parents do not realize is that other teenagers use the
internet for harassment. If your teenager has a falling out with one of their
friends, they may find themselves being harassed online. If that is the case,
your child may seem very down, depressed, and withdrawn.

The four above mentioned signs are just a few of the many that you will want to
look for to see if your child is in trouble online. With that said, there are
additional signs that you will want to be on the lookout for, the biggest being
a change in behavior. If you do suspect that your child has or is about to run
into trouble online, be sure to talk to them and as soon as possible.

Should You Let Your Child Use an Internet Chat Room?

Are you the parent of a child who has recently decided that they want to use
internet chat rooms? Or, are you a parent who has just learned that your child
has been using internet chat rooms? If you are, you may be unsure as to how you
should proceed. Yes, internet chat rooms are a great way to make new friends
online, but they can be dangerous. So, should you let your child use online
chat rooms?

When it comes to determining if your child is ready to use online chat rooms,
it is best to examine the pros and cons of them. For starters, there are chat
rooms out there that are designed for children and teenagers. By visiting these
chat rooms, your child should be paired with their peers. They may also be able
to make new online friends and communicate with their friends from school
easily online.

Meeting new friends online and communicating with current friends over the
internet, by way of internet chat rooms, is nice. It, however, is also
important to remember that there are dangers to doing so as well. For starters,
it is important to remember that anyone can get into a chat room. Just because a
chat room that your child uses is designed for kids between the ages of 8 and
15, it doesn't mean that everyone in that chat room falls into that age range.

As for why it is easy for an adult to get into a chat room and pretend to be a
child it is because not all internet chat rooms are monitored. With that said,
you should be able to find a number of chat rooms for children and teens that
are monitored. This means that an adult will be there watching all
conversations to make sure that they are appropriate. Remember though that an
adult pretending to be a child may be able to slide under the radar.

As previously stated, an adult could easily pretend to be a child, enter a chat
room for children, and target those in the room. This is easy for many internet
predators to do because the internet makes it very simple for children to be
targeted. A whole new, false identity can be created and you and your child may
never know until it is too late.

Despite the fact that there are a number of cons or downsides to letting
children and teenagers use internet chat rooms, many parents still let their
children do so. If you want to be one of those parents, that is fine, but be
sure that both you and your child know the dangers that lurk. Make sure they
know not to give out personal information in a chat room because the person on
the other end of the computer may not be who they say they are.

Also, for your child's protection, find internet chat rooms for them to use.
Even if your child knows that dangers lurk, they may still opt for the most
popular chat rooms, even if they aren't very safe. When searching for safe chat
rooms for your child to use, start with a standard internet search. Next, look
for those that have staffed monitors, as well as those that do not have private
messaging features.

For added safety and security, have your computer in a well trafficked
location. This is likely to reduce the amount of time that they spend in a chat
room, as they may feel like they are being watched. You can also limit the use
of chat rooms unless you are home or in the same room. Of course, you can ban
your child from visiting online chat rooms if you wish, as you do have the
right to do so.

As a reminder, be sure to talk to your child or teenager about the dangers of
communicating with strangers on the internet. Having online friends are nice,
but make sure your child knows that they should stay just that "online,"
friends.

Rules to Set for Online Message Boards and Chat Rooms

Is Your Child Ready for Their Own Email Account?

Are you a parent? If you are, your child may be using the internet, if they
aren't already doing so. While most children start out just using the internet
for school research projects, there comes a point in time when most children
want to start socializing with their friends online. When this point in time
comes, your child may ask to have their own email address, but are they ready?

When it comes to determining if your child is ready for their own email
address, you have the final say, as the parent. With that said, there are a
number of important factors that you will first want to take into
consideration. A few of these factors are highlighted below.

Your child's age should be taken into consideration, when trying to decide if
you should give them their own email account. When your child has their own
email account, you need to set rules. If a stranger happens to get their email
address and emails them, do you trust your child to ignore the message? Will
they abide by your rules to do so? If you do not think so, maybe your child
should just share an email address with you for now.

What your child intends to use their own email address for is also important.
If your child is using online chat rooms, they may want to have an email
address to give out to those who they meet online. As nice as this sounds, it
is important to remember that some internet predators target chat rooms looking
for children. That is why caution is advised. Make sure that your child only
intends to use their email account to communicate with those that they know,
like relatives or friends at school.

If you pay for internet, you likely get free email accounts from your internet
service provider. AOL, NetZero, and Verizon are just a few of the many internet
service providers that handout free email addresses. It may be best to give your
child one of these email addresses, as opposed to other free ones, like Hotmail
or Yahoo. Why? Because you will typically find that email addresses provided by
internet service providers get less junk mail. This reduces the chances of your
child getting scamming emails or adult themed emails.

Also, if you do decide to let your child have their own email address, you will
want to help them set it up. What many parents do not realize is just how
revealing an email address can be. For starters, make sure that your child
chooses an email address that does not include their full name. Next, you may
be required to fill out a profile. There are many free email programs, like
Hotmail and Yahoo, that ask you to do so. Some of this information, like your
child's name may be published. So use your best judgment or create a nickname
for your child to use instead.

As you can see, there are both a number of pros and cons to giving your child
their own email address, especially if they are still relatively young in age.
If you do make the decision, however, there are some steps that you will want
to take to protect your child. Also, just make sure that you use your best
judgment.




Internet Parental Controls: Why You Should Use Them

Are you the parent of a teenager or a younger child who uses the internet? If
you are, is your computer and the internet protected with parental controls? If
not, this is something that you will want to do. Although many children are able
to use the internet without running into any problems, like online harassment or
communicating with an online predator, are you really willing to take the
chance? If not, you should use parental controls.

One of the many reasons why you should set parental controls is because you can
protect your child when they are online. Although parental controls come in a
number of different formats, most allow you to block websites that you don't
want your child to view. This means that if you don't want your child to use
MySpace or other social networking websites you can easily block them.

Another reason you should have working parental controls on your child's
computer is because they are easy to install. Most parental controls are
self-explanatory. This means that even if you don't know how to use a computer,
you can still get protection set. For example, if your computer uses Internet
Explorer, all you need to do is open a new window and select "Internet
Options," from the heading of "Tools." There, you will find a tab that is
labeled "Content," and here is where you can set your parental controls.

In addition being easy to install, parental controls are also often easy to
find. In fact, many are also free. If you use Internet Explorer, as previously
stated, parental controls are already built in. Another popular internet
browser is that of FireFox. Although FireFox does not have built-in parental
controls, they do make it easy for to find add-ons, many of which are free.
Even if you must purchase a parental control program for your child, you should
know that they costs are more than worth it.

Unfortunately, many parents do not install parental controls, as they believe
it will limit their own use of the internet. Just because you want your child
to avoid websites that have crude language or violent themes, it doesn't
necessarily mean that you don't want to view them. But, did you know that most
internet controls for parents can be used on shared family computers? This is
because they let you set up a password to override any websites that you would
like to access.

Since parental controls are often free or very affordable, easy to install, and
a great way to keep kids safe, you should use them. However, before you get a
false sense of confidence, there are some important things that you should
know. First, know that many teenagers are computer smart. Your teen may
actually know how to get around parental controls, even if they don't know your
password. That is why you will occasionally want to check the computer. If you
block a website, like MySpace.com, occasionally check it to make sure that it
is still blocked.

Speaking of having a password, be sure not to give this password to your child.
If they need to gain access to a website that was accidentally blocked, like for
a school research project, you will want to use the password yourself to unblock
the website, even just temporarily. As nice and as mature as your child is,
there are some who go through great lengths to be able to socialize online with
other internet users.

What to Do If Your Child Runs Into Trouble Online

Are the parent of a child or teenager who uses the interenet? As much as we
would all like to believe that are children are safe when using the internet,
there are certain situations that may, unfortunately, arise. It is important to
remember that most children use the internet to communicate with their friends
or to make new friends, not just to do research for school projects. If your
child finds themselves in trouble online and comes to you, do you know what you
can or should do?

As it was previously stated, numerous situations can develop online that have
the potential to be dangerous. One of those situations is when personal
information is exchanged with a stranger. Has your child recently given away
your phone number, address, or their email address to someone who they don't
really know?

If so, be sure to change as much information as possible. This may involve
changing your home phone number or your child's cell phone number or email
address. Be sure to take additional safety steps, such as always being aware of
your surroundings, locking your home and car, and you may also want to contact
your local authorities. Be sure to talk to your child about the dangers of
exchanging personal information online.

In keeping with exchanging personal information online, your child may end up
talking to an adult, thinking that they are another teenager or close to their
age. If that is the case, your child is likely dealing with an internet
predator, who can be old enough to be a parent or a grandparent.

If your child has made contact, intentionally or unintentionally, with an older
person online, has any personal information been exchanged? If so, change that
information, like your child's email address, cell phone, or even if your home
phone number. Make sure that the contact stops immediately. Contact the
authorities, school officials, and make sure that all family members know. Get
as much information you can about the real person behind the computer. The
police may be able to help you do so.

Many high school and junior high school students use social networking
websites, like MySpace. Unfortunately, many also mistakenly believe that it is
a good idea to try to look "cool," online and at any cost. Your child may post
pictures or videos of themselves online doing illegal activities, like smoking
or drinking underage, stealing, or doing drugs.

If this is something that your child has done, be sure to remove the pictures
or videos right away. If your child's pictures or videos have been viewed by
school officials or authorities, they may be facing punishment. A lawyer should
be called if your child is arrested. If your child is suspended from school or
extra curricular activities, speak to school officials. What can be done by
both you, the parent, and your child?

Online harassment is another common problem that children, namely junior high
school and high school students face. This harassment can be done by a complete
stranger, an online friend, or a friend right at school. When friends have a
falling out or even just a simple disagreement, many turn to the internet to
seek revenge, as it is easy to hide behind a computer.

If your child finds themselves a victim of online harassment, the authorities
should be contacted. This is particularly important if your child does not
actually know, in person, the individual who is making threats or spreading
harmful rumors. If the individual doing so is a former friend or another
individual at school, there are a number of steps that you can take. If you
know the child and their parents, consider arranging a meeting, but be cautious
and use your best judgment. Alternatives involve contacting the authorities or
the school.

As you can see, there are a number of troubling and potentially dangerous
situations that your child can find themselves in online. Just make sure that
you, as the parent, take steps to help and protect your child.

The Importance of Discussing Internet Safety with Your Teen

Are you a parent? If you are, have you already had the internet safety talk
with your child? If you have yet to do so, this is a discussion that you will
want to have. Since many teenagers like using social networking websites,
online message boards, internet chat rooms, and instant messaging programs,
internet safety is a subject that must be discussed.

As nice as it is to hear that you should talk about internet safety and
internet use in general with your child, you may be curious as to why it is
important that you do so. For your convenience, just a few of the many reasons
why you should have the internet safety talk with your child are outlined below.

1 -- They May Not Know

How old is your child? If they are just starting to use the internet, they may
be unaware of the dangers that lurk on many popular websites, including online
chat rooms and social networking websites. If your child has just started using
the internet to research school projects, be sure you discuss internet safety
with them, as it won't be long before they realize that they can communicate
with and make new friends online.

2 -- It Is Your Job, As the Parent

Perhaps, the greatest reason why you should talk to your child about internet
use and internet safety is because it is your job to do so. As a parent, it is
your reasonability to guide and protect your child. Parents need to set some
rules and guidelines with their children and the internet shouldn't be any
different. You don't have to completely outlaw chat rooms, online message
boards, or social networking websites, but be sure that you set clear cut rules
that your child will understand concerning their use.

3 -- It Will Help to Keep Them Safe

As much as we would all like to believe that the world is filled with nice,
happy people, it isn't. Unfortunately, many of those people, who may be child
predators, are finding it easy to target children online. Why? Because the
internet enables anyone to create their own identity. While most internet users
that you meet online are truthful, all it takes is one online predator to cause
serious harm or damage to a family. When you talk to your child about the
dangers of the internet, you are keeping them well aware, which can help to
keep them safe.

4 -- You Can Teach Them What to Do

As for teaching your child what to do online, there are a number of different
aspects that should be examined. For starters, teach your child how to properly
use the internet, especially chat rooms and social networking websites. Let them
know that they cannot discuss personal information or share pictures or videos
with strangers. You should also let your child know what to do if they are
targeted or harassed by someone online. This should involve coming to you
immediately or saving all information, as opposed to erasing it from the
computer, until you or the police can examine it.

5 -- They Can Feel More Comfortable Talking to You

If your child is in high school or junior high school, they may automatically
get defensive when you try to talk to them about internet safety. This is
because most kids believe that they already know all that is needed to know and
others just assume that you are being an overbearing parent. Despite this,
discussing internet safety with your child in a calm and cool manner is likely
to make your teenager feel comfortable about the issue. This increases the
chances of them approaching you when they run into trouble online.

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why you should talk to your child
about internet safety. Although this piece focused on discussing internet safety
with teenagers, remember that internet safety is a lesson that can and should be
started as soon as your child turns a computer on.

How to Set Parental Controls with Internet Explorer

Are you the parent of a child or a teen who uses the internet? If you are,
there is a good chance that you use Internet Explorer for your browser, as it
comes standard on most computers. The good news is that if you are using
Internet Explorer, which has the blue colored e icon, it is easy for you to set
parental controls. These parental controls can block your child from viewing
dangerous content online.

As nice as it is to hear that you can limit the websites that your child or
teenager gains access to online, you may be curious as to how you can go about
doing so. As it was previously stated, the process is relatively easy. Outlined
below are a few steps to help get you started.

1 -- Open a new Internet Explorer window. You can do this by clicking on that
blue e icon that was mentioned above.

2 -- Click on "Tools," from the drop down menu bar at the top of the page.

3 -- Click on "Internet Options," and a new smaller window will appear.

4 -- Click on the "Content," tab, as this is where you are able to set the
controls.

5 -- Under the heading of "Content Advisor," you will see an enable button,
click on it and a new window will appear.

By following the above mentioned steps, you should get the point where you are
able to enter in your preferences. You may first want to start with the
ratings. Click on the "Ratings," tab.

When using the ratings feature that is provided through Internet Explorer, you
will see at least four main headings, which include language, sex, nudity, and
violence. You are able to determine what can be viewed on your computer based
on levels. For example, Level 1 for violence is fighting, Level 2 is killing,
Level 3 is blood and gore, and so forth. Remember that you can readjust these
ratings at any point in time.

If you use the internet safety rating features that are provided by Internet
Explorer, it is important to know that some sites can innocently be blocked.
For example, a site that simply mentions the words "violence," or "kill," may
be blocked, even if they are not violent websites. For that reason, you may
need to make some adjustments. This can easily be done by clicking on the
"Approved Sites," tab.

When you click on the "Approved Sites," tab you are able to enter in the
websites that you would like to have viewable. This feature is nice to have if
your child or teenager is using a family computer, like one that you and your
spouse may also use. It addition to listing approved sites, you can also list
the websites that you want to never make viewable. This is ideal if you are
prohibiting your child from using a social networking website, like MySpace.

Aside from adding the websites that you and other adults in your household view
to the approved sites list, you can also use a password. You can create a
password for your computer and the parental controls by click on the "General,"
tab. Create a password that is easy for you and the rest of the adults in your
household to remember, but one that is hard enough that your child or teen
can't figure out themselves. In fact, do not give your child the password. An
adult in your home can use it if they ask to have a safe site unblocked.

As you can see, it is relatively easy to protect your child online with the use
of internet safety tools when using Internet Explorer. The many options that you
have are also nice. Since the above mentioned tools and features are free for
you to use, why not at least give them a try? If you are not using Internet
Explorer, but rather another browser, like FireFox, you should be able to take
similar steps to block potentially harmful or dangerous content from your
internet using child.

Internet Safety: What to Do When Your Child Will Not Follow Your Rules

Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who uses the internet? If you are,
you likely have internet safety rules already in place. If you do, how well is
your child at following them?

When it comes to internet safety rules that you have set in place, it is
important that your child follows them. Why? Because their health and safety
is, literally, at risk. Not following your internet safety rules should be
treated differently than a child who doesn't clean their room. The situation is
much more serious. If your child doesn't follow the rules that you have set
concerning internet use, they may unintentionally find themselves a target of a
child predator.

What you will want to do is re-talk to your child. Be sure that they are clear
on your rules. For example, if your child is allowed to use social networking
websites, what are they not allowed to have posted on their profile? Do you not
want them to have personal information or personal pictures or videos shown?
Restate all rules that you have for your child and instruct them to start
following them right away.

If your child still isn't following your internet safety rules all of the way,
you will want to give them one final warning. Let them know that there are
serious consequences to their actions. However, there is one important
exception to this step. If you suspect that your child is communicating with
strangers online, like those who may be sexual predators, bypass the final
warnings, as your child may already be in over their head.

As for what steps you should take next, you can ban your child from using the
internet. This is the strictest form of punishment and likely the one that will
send the clearest message. If your child must use the internet for school, like
for a school research project, only let them do so when you are sitting right
next to them. You can also make them do their research at their local library.
This is a great way to make your child understand the importance and
consequences of not following rules.

Another approach that you can take is to block the websites that you want to
keep your child away from. For example, if you asked your child or teenager not
to post personal pictures or videos of themselves online, but they still
continue to do so, block the social networking websites that they use. If you
have Internet Explorer, this is easy to do. First, open a new internet window.
Then, from the dropdown menu select "Tools," and then "Internet Options," and
then click on the "Content Tab." Finally, under the heading of "Approved
Sites," you can also enter in the websites you want blocked.

You may also want to let your child use the computer when you are home or in
the room. If they have their own computer, make them relocate it into a well 
traveled area, such as your living room. Speaking of which, if your child uses a 
family computer, you should always make sure that it is in an area where you can 
easily see what your child is doing online. This is a nice approach, as your 
child is still able to use the internet, but you are able to keep a close eye on 
them, making sure that they are following your rules.

Internet Safety Tools that Can Protect Your Child

If you are the parent of a child or a teenager who uses the internet, do you
take steps to protect them? If not, you will want to start right away. Although
the internet can be neat for your child, it is important to remember that there
are dangers that lurk online.

Since there are dangers that lurk online, such as the potential for meeting an
online predator and the potential of being harassed online, you may be curious
as to how you can protect your child. Of course, you will want to discuss
internet safety with your child and you will also want to set rules for your
child to follow, but did you also know that you have other options? One of
those options is internet safety tools.

What is nice about internet safety tools that are designed for parents is that
you have so many options. Typically, you will find that most of these tools
fall under the heading of parental controls. For information on ways that you
can protect your child with the use of internet safety tools, please continue
reading on.

The ability to rate websites and set levels for what you want your child to
view online is an option that you have. This often is featured in the safety
tools that are provided by Internet Explorer, as well as other similar internet
browsers. What you do is decide what type of content your want your child to
view. Would you like to keep your child away from internet websites that use
crude or violent language? If you do, set your website level ratings to say so
and the websites should automatically be blocked.

In addition to blocking websites through the use of website rating tools, you
also have the ability to outright block websites. This is another option that
Internet Explorer gives you. For example, if you would like to block social
networking websites, like MySpace and Facebook, all you need to do is enter in
the website address and hit the block option. Internet Explorer also gives you
the option to let a list of approved websites.

Keyword trackers can also be used; however, there are some individuals,
including other parents, who consider them to be an invasion of privacy. That
is why it is important for you to use your best judgment and make the decision
as a parent. Keyword trackers work by recording each word that is typed by your
child. Many parents find keyword tracker programs a great way to catch their
child if they think that they are communicating with someone older or a sexual
predator online. Keyword tracker programs are a nice option to have, but they
do need to be purchased, as they aren't free like many other parental controls.

There are also internet safety tool programs out there that work to keep your
personal information safe. This is a great way to make sure that your child
doesn't share personal information about themselves with strangers online.
Although these programs do vary, you can usually enter in information that you
want to prevent your child from sharing online, like your phone number, email
address, or home address. The program, if it works properly, should catch the
information before it is sent.

As you can see, you have a number of different options when looking to use
parental controls to keep your child safe when they use the internet.
Additional online safety tools can easily be found with a standard internet
search.

Easy Ways to Stay Involved In Your Child's Internet Use

Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who uses the internet? If you are,
do you know the importance of staying involved and in the know about your
child's internet use? Better yet, do you know how you can stay involved in your
child's use of the internet? If not, it is important that you take the time to
familiarize yourself.

As nice as it is to hear that you should be active, involved, and in the know
when it comes to your child or teenager and the internet, you may be wondering
what is so important about doing so. Although you may use the internet to
search for jobs online or pay your bills, it is important to remember that
there is so much more out there. Your child can and may be doing more than just
doing research for a school project. They may be using online chat rooms,
private instant messaging programs, and social networking websites.

As for why online chat rooms, private instant messaging programs, and social
networking sites are dangerous, it is important to remember that the internet
makes it easy to pretend to be someone else. Your child may unknowingly end up
making a 50 year old friend, thinking that friend is their own age. Information
posted online has also been used for harassment or harmful purposes when
otherwise high school or junior high school friends have a falling out.

Now that you know the importance of staying updated and in the know about your
child's internet use, you may be curious as to how you can go about doing so.
The good news is that it is relatively easy to do so.

The first step is to make sure that you are computer literate yourself. Do you
know how to check your computer's internet history? Better yet, do you even
know what a computer's internet history is or does? If not, you will want to
take a computer course or ask a trusted friend or relative, other than your
child, to give you a crash course. You will want to learn as much as you can
about the internet and a computer, but be sure to know about parental controls,
a computer's internet history, and so forth.

Speaking of checking your computer's internet history, be sure that you do so.
Your computer's internet history records all of the websites that are visited
within the last week or past few days. To do so, open up a new Internet
Explorer window. Towards the top of the page you should see a number of icons.
Click on the one that has a clock with a green arrow partly around it. This
should be the computer's internet history. What websites has your teenager or
child visited?

Another easy way to stay involved in your child's internet use is to set
parental controls. Most computers come standard with them. Make your parental
controls password protected. Do not give your child the password, but do use it
to unlock websites that may innocently be blocked on accident, like those needed
for a school research project.

Moving your child's computer into a family room or a frequently traveled room
is advised. In fact, your child should be able to use a shared family computer.
This tends to limit the visiting of potential dangerous chat rooms and social
networking websites, as most teens like to view these sites in private. If you
must, limit your child's use of the computer to certain times, like when you
are home or in the room.

Be sure to talk to your child about the dangers of the internet. Let them know
that it is possible to meet internet predators online, especially with the use
of private chat rooms or social networking websites. Let them know that if they
are harassed, whether it be by someone they know or don't know, contact you
immediately. You may, in turn, want to contact the proper authorities.

5 Reasons Why the Internet Can Be Dangerous for Children and Teens

Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who wants to use the internet, if
they don't already? If so, you may have some concerns. Yes, it is typically
safe for your child to use the internet to do research for school projects, but
did you also know that children and teens are now using it to communicate with
their friends or other internet users? This is how and when using the internet
at a young age can become a problem.

As important as it is to hear that your child can find themselves in trouble
online, if you do not know what internet safety steps can help to protect them,
you may be looking for more information. You also may be curious as to what it
is about the internet that can be so dangerous. For your convenience, five
reasons why internet use can be dangerous for children and teenagers are
highlighted below.

1 -- False Identities Are Easy to Create

Making new friends online is easy and convenient, but it is much different than
doing so in person. Why? Because you can't see who is at the other end of the
computer. The internet makes it easy for someone to be anyone else in the
world. For example, if your child is using social networking websites online,
they have to enter in their age. They could easily lie themselves or they could
be talking to someone else who is.

2 -- Internet Predators

As it was previously stated, the internet makes it easy to create a new, false
identity. Often times, the individuals who lie about their ages are internet
predators. They are the ones who target children, like yours. Unfortunately,
many children, teenagers, and their parents cannot tell an internet predator
until it is too late, like when the predators try to approach your child or
contact them in person.

3 -- So Many Websites To Choose From

What is nice about the internet is that you have so many websites to choose
from. In fact, that is why it is a good way to research school projects. With
that said, having so many websites to choose from can be dangerous. Your child
can gain access to social networking websites, adult chat rooms, pornographic
websites, and websites that are violent in nature. Unless you have parental
controls set up, your child can easily access any type of website with a
standard internet search.

4 -- Not All Information Is Private

Unfortunately, many individuals, including both children and parents, do not
know that the information that is posted online isn't always private. For
starters, most teens have their MySpace profiles set to public, as opposed to
private. This means that anyone can view it. There are also online message
boards that are indexed by the search engines. This means that others can view
the conversations that were discussed, even years down the road.

5 -- They Are In Control

When your child uses the internet, they are the ones who are in control. This
can be okay if your child is older and mature, but you honestly never know. You
may ask your child not to communicate with strangers online, give out their
phone numbers, or share pictures with strangers, but that doesn't mean that
they will follow your rules. For that reason, if you do let your child use the
internet, be sure to monitor their use.

Should You Let Your Child Post Pictures and Videos Online?

Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who uses the internet, namely
social networking websites like MySpace? If you are, your child may be
interested in posting pictures or videos of themselves online, if they haven't
already done so. Should you let them?

When it comes to determining if you should let your child post personal
pictures and videos of themselves online, you, as the parent, should have the
final say. With that said, it is first important to examine the pros and cons
of letting your child post these items online. Pictures and videos are common
on social networking websites, like MySpace and Facebook.

In all honesty, the only true pro or plus side to letting your child post
videos or pictures of themselves online is because it is what your child wants
to do. Letting them post their pictures and videos online will likely make your
child happy. They can easily share videos and pictures with friends, as opposed
to actually bringing them to school.

As much as your child or teenager may want to post personal pictures or videos
of themselves online, it is also important to know that there are many cons or
downsides to doing so. One of those is the wrong impression. Say you have a
teenager daughter who posts a picture of herself wearing a low-cut shirt
online. Even though no cleavage is showing, the picture can create the wrong
impression. Sexual online predators may think she is welcoming attention, and
so forth. You and your child need to know that not everyone interprets things
the same way.

Speaking of the wrong impression, it is
important to know that pictures and videos can easily fall into the wrong hands
online. If your child is using a social networking website, like MySpace, is
their profile set to private? If not, anyone with their own account can view
their private and personal pictures and videos. Your child may be interested
posting pictures and videos to share with their friends, but that doesn't meant
that others can't see them. Unfortunately, those others can have impure
intentions.
Another con or downside to letting your child post personal pictures and videos
of themselves online is that they are easy to copy. Yes, a picture or a video
can be taken down, but did you know that it may already be too late? People can
easily copy and repost or copy and save videos and pictures that are posted
online for whatever reason, including their own personal pleasure.

As you can see, there are a number of pros and cons to letting your child post
pictures and videos of themselves online, namely on social networking websites.
As the parent, the decision is yours to make, but be sure to use your best
judgment. When it doubt, the best answer may be no.

If you do decide to let your child or teenager post personal pictures and
videos of themselves online or if you already think that they do, be sure to
check them. Ask to see the photos yourself. Make sure that your child is well
covered in any photographs that they post. As for videos, make sure they aren't
doing anything illegal, like stealing, or showing anything suggestive, even if
it is simply meant as an inside joke among friends.

Children and Online Chat Rooms: The Dangers That Lurk

Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who wants to use internet chat
rooms? Or, is your child already using them? If so, it is important that both
you and your child know the dangers that often lurk around online chat rooms.

For starters, it is important to know that the computer and internet makes it
easy for someone to be anyone they want to. In fact, an internet user can claim
to be someone famous, a superhero, or another teenager. There is nothing out
there that can stop them. If your child is using a chat room for teenagers or
younger children, they need to know the dangers of exchanging personal
information with strangers or "online friends." Because, anyone can be at the
other end of the computer.

Another common danger of using online chat rooms is the screen names. Screen
names are what is used to identity your child and differentiate them from other
chat room users. If you allow your child to use an online chat room, there is
one internet safety step that must be taken. Have your child create a separate
screen name that will not be used elsewhere. If they use part of their email
address, a screen name that appears on other websites or online message boards,
or part of their full name, a standard internet search could lead internet
predators to your child's real identity.

It is also important to know that anyone can get into a chat room.
Unfortunately, this is an important internet safety fact that many parents do
not realize. Just because your teenager is in an online chat room that is
designed for kids between the ages of 14 to 17, it doesn't mean that everyone
is the same age in the room. No age verification is required to get into most
online chat rooms. As it was previously stated, the internet makes it easy for
anyone to create a false identity. This false identity can be used to lure in
your child and other young internet users.

One of the reasons why children and teenagers like to use internet chat rooms
is because it automatically connects them with a number of other internet
users. In fact, an online chat room could have as many as one hundred or more
internet users talking in it. Unfortunately, many parents do not realize that
some chat rooms have private messaging programs available. This means that a
person, who may actually be a 50 or 60 years old man or woman, could send a
private message and communicate directly with your child. This is actually how
many teenagers and children get into trouble with online predators.

As you can see, there are a number of dangers that lurk around internet chat
rooms. Does this mean that your child shouldn't use them? In all honesty, the
decision is yours to make, as you are the parent. With that said, a number of
factors should be taken into consideration, such as your child's age and
maturity level. Do you trust your child to follow the rules that you set in
place concerning internet use and the use of online chat rooms?

Speaking of rules, be sure to have them if you let or know that your son or
daughter is using internet chat rooms. Do not let them visit chat rooms that
are designed for adults only. This makes them an easy target. Also, be sure
they know that just because someone claims to be a 15 year old boy or girl, it
doesn't mean that they are. They should also never send out pictures or videos
of themselves, even when asked, and no other personal information should be
exchanged.

If internet chat rooms concern you, which they should, you may want to point
your child in the direction of online message boards instead. Online message
boards, also commonly referred to as online forums, are different as the
information appears as separate posts, as opposed to live chats. While there
are no guarantees, you will find that most online message boards, especially
those that are designed for children and teenagers are monitored by a trusted
adult. This means that offensive posts should be removed in a timely matter.

How to Discuss Internet Safety with Your Teen

Are you the parent of a teenager who uses the internet? If you are, have you
already had the internet safety talk with your teenager? If you haven't, it is
time for that talk to occur. As nice as it is to be able to use the internet
for school research projects or to communicate with friends online, it is
important to remember that the internet can also be a danger to children and
teenagers.

As nice as it is to hear that you should talk to your teenager about internet
safety, you may be curious as to how you can go about doing so. Brining up the
subject can be hard, as your teen may automatically become defensive. The good
news is that you do have a number of different options. One of those options is
to just go for it.

When you outright discuss internet safety with your teenager, make sure that
you pick a good time to have the talk. Don't start ranting right away about
your teen's internet use and the dangers after a disagreement or when tensions
are already high. With teenagers, this can lead to other problems. It may cause
your teenager to not listen to you just for the point of not listening or they
may purposely defy you.

Another option that you have, when looking to discuss internet safety with your
child, is to wait until your child gets off the computer. When they walk away,
ask them if they know about being safe online and the dangers that the internet
has.

This is a great opener, when your child is already using the computer. It may
make you sound less like an overprotective, overbearing parent, at least in the
eyes of your teenager.

When discussing internet safety with your teenager, it is important to not
assume that your child already knows. Even if your child stops you and tells
you they already know how to be safe online, don't stop. Be sure to restate
your point and establish any internet rules you would like your child to
follow. It is important to remember that many teenagers think they know
everything, but many don't. For example, your child may know that there are
internet predators out there, but do they also know that pictures of them
smoking or drinking underage could get them suspended from school or even
arrested, no matter how "cool," they look on a MySpace page?

Speaking of MySpace, it is important to know what you should talk to your child
about. Since many teenagers use MySpace and other similar social networking
websites, they should be discussed. Make sure your child knows that anyone can
hide behind a computer, even a sexual predator. Also, let them know the dangers
of posting personal information and pictures on their social networking profiles.

In addition to social networking websites, like MySpace, internet chat rooms
should also be discussed. Internet chat rooms are different, but similar in
nature to instant messaging programs, like AOL or MSN. Generally speaking,
instant messaging programs are safer for teens to use, as they aren't
automatically paired up and thrown into a chat room with other internet users,
who are essentially strangers. As with social networking websites, make sure
that your child knows that they could, essentially, be talking to anyone. Tell
them to get out of a chat room right away if the tone turns sexual in nature or
if they receive a private message from someone who makes them feel uncomfortable.

You may also want to discuss personal blogs. Many websites, like Blogger.com
and WordPress.com allow internet users to start free blogs. Many teens find
this a nice and easy way to vent or allow their friends to stay up-to-date on
their thoughts. Your teenager needs to know that anyone can view these blogs,
so their information really isn't private and personal, say as a handwritten
journal.

As you can see, there are a number of different ways that you can go about
discussing internet safety with your teenager. Remember to do so, however,
before it is too late. Any child who uses the internet should be well aware of
the dangers that lurk.






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