Tips For Parents/Children When Surfing The Internet
Internet and the invention of the personal computer are perhaps the most
significant creations of the 20th Century, offering unprecedented communication
tools that link families and friends around the world. It provides users
access to an incredible volume of information and is an invaluable tool
of the academic and business world.
The Internet can also be a seedy and
dangerous place for people of all ages, especially children and teens.
“Internet users enjoy anonymity and
that is something that predators crave, a child doesn't always know with whom he or she is interacting and that
is why it can be so dangerous. Unless its a school friend or a relative,
they really cant be sure.”
Considering that 25 percent of kinds
online participate in real time chat and 13 million use instant messaging
(IM), the risks of such children interacting, either knowingly or unknowingly,
with a predator is alarming.
According to the Journal of the American
Medical Association (JAMA), 89 percent of sexual solicitations were made
in either chat rooms or instant messages, and 1 in 5 youth (ages 10-17
years) has been sexually solicited online.
“It’s easy to think of pedophiles as
loitering in playgrounds and other places where children play, but because of the way the Internet works, children can easily
be interacting on their home computers with predators posing as children.”
The Police Chiefs of Massachusetts wish
to offer these safety tips to parents and children and urges parents to
report any suspicious activities:
Tips for Children and Teens:
-Never give out personal information (such as
name, age, address, phone number, school, town, password, schedule, your
picture) or fill out questionnaires or any forms online. This includes
chat rooms, instant messages, email, surfing the Net and event entering
contests or registering for clubs online.
-Never meet in person with anyone you have met online without Mom and/or
-Do not enter a chat room without Mom and/or Dad’s presence or supervision.
Some “kids” you meet in chat rooms may not really be kids; they may be
adults with bad intentions. Remember people may not be who they say they
-Be suspicious of anyone who tries to turn you against your parents, teachers
-Don’t give out your password to anyone except your parents – not even
to your friends.
-Follow your family’s rules for online safety at home, at school, at the
library or at a friend or relative’s house.
-Do not engage in an online conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Log off and tell your parents. If you get such a message, DO NOT respond.
Instead, show it to your parents and let them handle it.
-Never respond to or send an e-mail or instant message to a stranger,
or accept e-mails, enclosures, links, URLs or other things online from
people you don’t know. Talk to your parents first so they can check it
Tips for Adults:
-Place your computer in an area of your home where you can easily monitor
your child’s Internet activity.
-Teach your children not to give out personal information to anyone they
do not know in the physical world.
- Teach them never to give out any personal information while they are
in a chat room with friends, because there may also be others in the chat
room that they do not know.
-Supervise your child’s chat-room activity and only allow your children
in monitored chat rooms.
-Block instant/.personal messages from people you and your child don’t
know. (Check to see which IM services have this feature.)
-Set time limits and monitor the amount of time your child spends on the
Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive time online, especially
at night, may indicate a problem.
-Regularly ask your kids about their online friends and activities.
-Be present in room so you can monitor the screen and your child’s IM.
-Do not permit your child to have an online provirtual, which serves as a
lightening rod for predators. With this restriction, he or she will not
be listed in directories and is less likely to be approached in chat rooms
where pedophiles often search for prey.
-Be aware that when anyone enters a chat room, their email can end up
on a spammer’s list. This means that participating in chat rooms can increase
the likelihood that you will begin receiving unsolicited pornographic
-Consider investing in protective software. As your Internet service provider
or local software retailer for suggestions or visit an Internet search
engine and conduct a keyword search for “blocking and filtering software.”
The following websites provide useful
information to aid parents in educating themselves and their children
in safe Internet practices: www.protectkids.com, www.safekids.com, www.missingkids.com/cybertip,
Robert C. Dwyer
Chief Of Police