How to Protect Your Child Online

How to Protect Your Child Online

April 10, 2019 0 By Anthony Ekanem

As children get older, they will want to know more.  With the emergence of the internet, this is easier than parents think.  All it takes is a few keystrokes and they have come to the website of their choice.  Even with that, children find ways to get the information they want.  It is therefore very important that child safety online should be taken very seriously by parents.

Being online exposes children to a new way of exploring things. Or they will access one of their favorite children’s television websites and look at old episodes of their favourite shows.  If it doesn’t cost them much of anything, they will take advantage of what the internet has available.

Even though a child may land on a child-friendly website, some of them do have chat rooms.  Who says they would not try to access one of them?  If they get lonely, they can look for new friends online.  These are people they have never met before.  Down the road, they start to feel comfortable talking to them.

Then once they get to know them, they seek out people who have their same interests.  Little do some of these children know that they may be setting themselves up for trouble if they’re not careful.  The person on the other end seems to be interested in having a “friendship” as well.  This “friendship” gets so intense that the child starts pouring out their heart to them.  They start to divulge their innermost thoughts and problems.  They think that the person on the other end will be willing to help them. 

Sexual Exposure

What the person is really doing is trying to get a hook to take advantage of them.  The child is then lured with promises of attention, giving and loving by way of the internet.  Then, once they think the child feels comfortable with them, they start to introduce them to content of a sexual nature.  Being that most children are curious by nature, they seek to find out more. 

So the person starts sending them sexually provocative images and talks to them in a sexually explicit manner.  In essence they’re being brainwashed to renounce their normal life as a child and start to grow up faster than they need to.   

Physical Meeting

When the perpetrator feels that they want to move the relationship to another level, they’ll trick the child into meeting them in person.  Once that happens, the child is lured into staying with this person for an unspecified period of time.  After that, the parents become hard pressed to get their child back. 

The age of the sex offender isn’t always an older person.  Sometimes, the perpetrator can be a few years older than the child.  No matter how old they are, if they can succeed in luring the child away from their home, then the parents have a problem.  Some of the perpetrators may not necessarily be child molesters per se, but they may still pose a danger to the child they trying to lure into their graces.

Tips to Avoid Sexual Predators

There are things parents can do to lessen the chances of sexual predators targeting their children. These include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Parents need to take time to get online with their child.  Parents should allow them to show them which websites they access on a regular basis.
  • In order to find out what’s going on, parents must talk to their child.  They should let their child know that monitoring of websites is for their best interests.
  • It is not advisable to allow your child to have a computer in their bedroom.  The computer should be kept in the living room, where everyone will have access to it.   If the parents can see it, there is less chance that the child will attempt to access those adult-oriented sites or chat rooms.
  • Make sure that your internet service provider has controls in place to block certain websites.

The Truth about Online Contents

Parents should activate privacy settings on the computer for restricted access and posting on their child’s website.  They should check with the individual social networking site.  Explain to your child what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. 

The child should be informed that when they post information online for everyone to see, that it can’t be retracted.   Even if it’s not true, the information can be passed around and of course, people will form their own opinions about it.

There are other things that parents need to talk with their child regarding online safety. In addition to warning them about predators and talking about sexually explicit content online, they should also talk to their child about bullying. 

Bullying can be festered in different formats online.  Other children will spread nasty rumors or send messages to scare the child.  They should not want to be an instigator as well as a victim.  If this is not handled quickly and properly, the consequences can be devastating for the person being bullied.

If the child has any inkling that something is not right, they need to advise the parents as soon as possible.  Anything that is out of place can be reported to local authorities.  They will determine if it’s something the parents can do or if it’s something that needs to be bound over to them.

Parents need to make sure they understand the privacy policies of the websites your child is visiting.  It should explain in detail what the website will do with the child’s submitted information.  Parents have the right to know they can review the information and have it removed it if they choose to.

Conclusion

With parents having all the knowledge and resources about prevention, it’s never too late to intervene in their child’s online life.  In fact, the sooner they start, the better chance they have of saving their child from destruction and a downhill spiral.  Consistent intervention from you is the key to keep your child and your family out of harm’s way.

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