Parents Talking With Children Helps Keep Them Safe On Line
Each October, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security encourages communities to spotlight Internet Safety and to educate people on the dangers of the World Wide Web such as cyber bullying, identity theft, and internet predators. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children on a regular basis to keep their children safe on line.
Cyber bullying has made media headlines the past several years with heartbreaking stories of teens taking their own lives because of relentless bullying over the internet. Parents need to watch for signs their child may be receiving bullying messages from others. If your child is being bullied he or she may appear to be depressed or sad, have trouble sleeping, losing interest in school, and spending less time on the computer. If you do learn your child has been cyber bullied, take steps to stop the bullying. Tell your child not to reply to any bullying messages, save and print all messages received from the person who bullies, and contact your internet provider for assistance in getting the bullying person blocked from sending messages to your computer.
Identity theft is stealing someone’s personal information and using it to commit fraud and other crimes and is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Teens use the internet for on-line gaming and shopping and need to be aware of the dangers of giving out too much information. Encourage your teen to ask for your help in making purchases over the internet and not to respond to any e-mail messages requesting personal information such as date of birth and social security numbers.
Internet predators use chat rooms and social networking sites to locate and contact children for the purposes of meeting them in person for sex. Parents need to talk to their children and be honest about predators and their intentions. Children want to be trusting and they need to know that predators will pretend to me someone different from who they say they are. Tell your children they are never to meet anybody in person they have met while chatting on line.
If your child does encounter a problem on line, never blame your child or take away their internet privileges. Work with your children to help avoid any future problems and remember your response will determine if they will confide in you the next time there is a problem. Set reasonable expectations for internet use and try to be understanding of your children’s needs and curiosities. Keep open communications with your children and encourage them to come to you with any problems they encounter on line and help keep our kids safe.
Keeping Our Kids Safe is brought to you by the Delaware Police Department and School Resource Officer Rod Glazer.