Internet Dangers

Overview

  • Many parents have a false sense of security regarding Internet use.
  • Chat rooms can be particularly dangerous for children.
  • Internet safety resources help parents protect children from becoming victims of crime.
  • Predators and criminals have used the Internet to find their victims.
  • Predators constantly visit chat rooms and assume a new name and age to hide their identity.
  • Internet safety programs often rely on education and empowerment to make technology a safer place for everyone.
  • No filtering program will protect your child from all the dangers on the Internet.
  • Responding to email ads confirms that you have a working account, which often results in more junk email.
  • There are software programs that prohibit certain materials from being accessed from your computer.
  • Internet safety stresses the following theme: Keep your personal information private.
  • Internet safety analysts want parents to be aware, not scared.
  • Internet safety month is celebrated each June.

Effects on Youth

  • An alarming number of girls have reported that they’ve been sexually harassed in chat rooms.
  • Unprepared children are extremely vulnerable to online predators.
  • These predators seduce children by showering them with attention, affection, and kindness.
  • Opening spam email attachments could cause a computer to be infected with a virus.
  • Online “phishing” scams coerce children into revealing personal and confidential identity information.

Warning Signs

  • Your child turns the monitor off or changes the screen when you enter the room.
  • Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.
  • Your child is online a lot, especially at night.
  • Your child receives mail, gifts, or packages from people you don’t know.
  • Your child has pornography on his or her computer.
  • Your child is making phone calls to numbers you don’t recognize.
  • Your child receives calls from strangers.

Prevention Information

What can you do?

  • Teach your child that saying or doing anything mean, hurtful, or vulgar is wrong.
  • Make sure that your child never agrees to meet face-to-face with someone whom he or she has met online without your knowledge.
  • Tell your child never to respond to messages that have bad words or are weird or scary.
  • Remind your child to never send any pictures to anyone without your permission.
  • Monitor the pictures your child puts on the Internet.
  • Insist that your child never give out any personal information (e.g., name, phone number, address).
  • Review all parental control features in the software your child uses.
  • First educate yourself and then your child on Internet safety.
  • Know the dangers associated with the websites your child frequents.

Resources

  • The is a nonprofit organization that provides training and technical assistance to help families stay safe from Internet crimes.
  • , one of the oldest Internet safety sites, was established to help parents and teens learn safety tips for social networking.
  • , a nonprofit foundation, is the leader in Internet safety/cyberbullying education, providing programs/curricula for students and parents.
  • The is a state agency that provides funding to each school district in the Commonwealth for educating families about safe schools.