Ways to Protect Your Family from Internet Dangers
By Steve Cross
the Wild West on the Internet, and as a parent you are responsible
for keeping your kids safe "out there," Even though "out
there" may be two feet away from your kitchen while you are
preparing dinner. Scammers, sexual predators, cyber bullies, and
every type of hack are lurking on the Internet, in a very real and
you are the parent of a girl, you probably think about what name
she is using in chat rooms and for instant messaging (IM), and you
are wise to be concerned. How can you protect your daughter if you
are unaware what web sites she visits, what chat rooms, who she
chats with, and the true identities of her online "friends?"
your teenager is a boy; what is he downloading? Are you going to
be liable for illegal music downloads? Is he downloading porn, and
the viruses that ride along? What sites does he visit, what does
he look at there? It's a parents right to know these things, and
a parent's responsibility if, heaven forbid, something goes terribly
are aggressive downloaders, according to studies and many of the
most popular sites for illegal downloads of music and movies are
infested with viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses (hacker software
that sneaks in and lets the hackers use your machine later!). Many
of these programs will seek out your personal data and then transmit
it to the hackers. Whether it is just the theft of your credit card
information or full fledged Identity Theft, you would be very wise
to be alarmed by this possibility.
you know that recent studies show that teenage girls spend even
more time on the internet than boys? That's interesting and alarming
news, as teenage girls are more likely to be cyber bullied, or sexually
harassed online than boys.
Michele Borba, internationally renowned educational consultant and
author of 20 books, wrote "There are some specific ways to
protect kids from bullying both in cyberspace and on the playground.
Parents today need a closer "electronic leash" on their
kids and need to be more tuned into the cyberspace trend. This isn't
about being controlling--this is good parenting."
extend her point, the monitoring of your children's activities on
the internet is not about control, or infringing upon their privacy,
it's about protecting your children from very real threats.
internet service providers (like AOL and MSN) have built in parental
controls to "block out" certain types of web sites. However,
none of these parental controls are foolproof, which means your
kids are on the loose much of the time-and if you are a typical
family, your kids probably know more about computers than you.
can't look over their shoulder at all times, but you can do a number
of very smart things. Here are seven ways to keep your kids safe
when they use the Internet.
Talk to them about the dangers of unrestricted use of the internet.
Inform them about keeping passwords really secret, never sharing
a credit card number with anyone, even their best friend. And please
talk with them about cyber bullying, whether they are on the receiving
end, or the giving end.
If they are on the giving end of cyber bullying, you must take away
their privileges immediately. You have liability here, both ethical
If they are illegally downloading music and movies, make them stop.
If the studios or record companies come after them, as their parent
you have the legal responsibility of paying the fines.
Talk to them about stalkers and predators on the internet that use
false identities, and urge them to be careful in chat rooms.
Use the parental controls that come with your internet service.
Take the computer out of their rooms and place it in a common area
in the house. Your kids are much less likely to do something inappropriate
or dangerous if other people are around.
Look into Internet Monitoring Software
Steve Cross, author of the book "Changing Channels", is
a former columnist for Newman Media, Channel Media, and the Gartner
Group. Steve is a contributor to various jazz publications. Currently,
Steve serves as the Steve is president of Guardian Software. http://www.guardiansoftware.com/monitor-pro.html