The top two priorities of all good parents are essentially the same –
(1) to protect their children and
(2) to provide for their children’s needs
The Internet makes doing both of these difficult, but it is not impossible if you know what to do.
The Internet can be very beneficial to anyone who uses it, especially children. According to the Cyberethics website (www.cyberethics.info) , the Internet is “the most valuable tool in various settings of a person’s life.” The Internet has a massive amount of information and capabilities that expand children’s knowledge and education as they explore different interests, skills, cultures, etc.
Unfortunately, the Internet also exposes children to dangers as they explore this vast information superhighway.
Individuals, called “sexual predators,” often use the Internet to prey on children and sexually exploit them. Sexual predators use online services to steadily work to gain a child’s trust. They entice children by offering them gifts, affection, attention and more.
**Sexual predators will listen to children’s problems and empathize with them. They also make sure that they know all the current music and other topics in which their prey is interested. These dangerous individuals do whatever they need to in the attempt to increasingly lower a child’s shyness and innocence by gradually introducing sexual concepts and topics into the conversation. Eventually, the sexual predators will try to obtain child-pornographic photos or images and/or meet the child in person.
Some parents are so concerned about the dangers of the Internet that they just refuse to allow their children to use the internet. That is not the answer. The Internet is not the problem. It is similar to the saying about guns – “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” The Internet is not dangerous. Some of the people who use it are dangerous.
**Internet Bullying resulting in suicide is also a major problem the use of internet has brought to many families. Children and teenagers have fall victim to scrutiny from their fellow classmates, leading them in path of suicide and depression. As a parent, you must take precaution and pay close attention to internet activities and your child’s social media behaviors for their own safety.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
- Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
- A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
- 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
- According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying
Find out more visit: Bullying & Suicide
How to protect your Child from Cyber Bullies:
So how do parents keep their children safe? Here are a few tips from: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) :
- Communication. Talk to your children and explain the dangers. Instruct them not to disclose personal information, not to send pictures of themselves, and not to agree to meet with someone they met on the Internet.
- Join them. Let them show you their favorite websites and how to use them.
- Computer Setup. DO NOT keep the computer in the child’s bedroom. Make sure it is in a common room of the house where you can see it.
- Use Resources. Browser options contain parental controls. Parents can also purchase Internet Safety software.
Internet dangers are real and frightening, but parents do not have to be afraid to let their children use the Internet. Parents just need to remain informed and knowledgeable and pass that information on to their children. For more information, parents can contact their local FBI office.
Find out more about Signs your child may be a victim of Bullying.
More information about protecting your family internet safety
Our hope is that with the proper precautionary methods in place, we can educate a parent and save a child’s life. Please protect your family, and do not fall prey to dangers of the world wide web.
By: Angela Lewis
Featured Image by: Jeff Sheldon