Today’s internet safety lesson is about online predators, especially those lurking on the social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook. Although social networking websites diligently work to minimize and eliminate the access that predators have to their websites, they remain a problem. Children, teens, and the elderly are most susceptible to online risk factors. It is fun to stay connected with friends and learn what is new and ‘happening’ on the Internet. It is hard to resist. Teens and children are most certainly at greater risk of online victimization, than their adult counterparts.
Teens are a study of dichotomy. They are often trusting and suspicious at the same time. They are aware of the potential dangers inherent in sharing private personal information online. Teens believe that they have already had an Internet safety lesson. Even so, you do not want your teen to be a statistic being unawares and putting their faith in an unknown person. How scary is that? These predators often know just the right words to entice our teens and children. Larger portions of teens who contact someone in person they have met online have resulted more often-in victimization, than your teen or child believes.
One of the best ways parents can help to protect their children is by staying involved in all aspects of their teen’s life. Parents may at times feel overwhelmed with the complicated and time-consuming activity of staying involved. This is ‘easier said than done. ‘However, it is very critical. Beware, teens are beginning their journey to independence from their parents and can be resistant to scrutiny. Knowledge is certainly powerful.
Today’s Internet Safety Lesson for Parents and Teens
Parents, read through these hints for simplifying staying involved in your teen’s use of the computer. These can be your self-taught Internet safety lesson:
• Find out about online social networking websites.
• Join an online social networking site like Facebook or MySpace to learn firsthand how these sites operate.
• Decide how you wanted your teen to use the online social networks.
• Find out if your teen or child has an online personal profile on one of the social networking websites.
• Let your teen and/or other children know that you will be reviewing their online profile frequently.
• Talk with your teens; learn their perspective; no yelling; no threats. You will lose all credibility.
Monitoring your teen’s networking activities will provide a common ground for discussion. Parents, follow-through is essential. Teens are less likely to make poor choices when using the home computer or laptop, if the parents are involved in this process. Ultimately, you will have more success reducing harmful online relationships and risk.
Start now. Do not wait. If your child is of an age to use the computer without your presence, then set the parental controls and set limits on their use of these types of websites. Arm yourself with current information and give your version of an Internet safety lesson quickly. You will not be able to stop all inappropriate use of MySpace and other networking or social websites, but knowledge is power. Give your teens and even your younger computer using children a current internet safety lesson based on your knowledge. You will sound more believable. Be as specific as age appropriateness will allow. It is not necessary to frighten your teens.
Teens are capable of comprehending the seriousness of an Internet that is full of predators. Unfortunately, the Internet allows users to disguise their identity. As a result, anyone providing personal information to websites may be at risk.
Continue your personal Internet safety lesson by providing limits. Here are some samples of limits and guidelines for teens and children using social networking websites:
• Do not give out any personal information, such as full name and address.
• Do not send photos of yourself.
• Do not agree to meet someone in person.
• Do not respond to threats or other forms of harassment; tell your parents, and your parents will inform the Internet service provider.
• Do not enter online areas, which require additional fees.
• Do not give out credit card information.
• Get parent’s approval before opening a social networking account and profile.
Again, follow through is always essential. Do not set limits that you do not intend to enforce. No matter how trustworthy your teen has been in the past, this area may be too exciting to pass up. They may not be able to watchdog themselves.
Encourage your teens and children to join programs through their schools, community organizations, churches, and youth groups. It is truly far better to socialize in person.
Do your homework; go to MSNBC.com, Google.com, and yahoo.com, or your favorite search engine and research these social networking websites for yourself. You will not have to run your Internet safety lesson like a classroom. Sit down together. Ask non-threatening questions sand find out about your teen’s opinions, before you surprise everyone with your new computer use limits. Be flexible, but not a pushover. It may be advisable to have your limits for computer use of these websites put in writing. Signatures or initials on that paper may ward-off any confusion.
There have been times that we parents have all experienced the fear that the unknown presents to our teens. Don’t let online predators even have a chance of victimizing your children. Teens are attracted to using the social networking websites. Learn to identify warning signs for trouble. Give your teens and children tools to avoid victimization. Give your teens an Internet Safety lesson. Learn how to teach your teens to be safe from online predators with Parenting 101 Success. Search the site for your topic.
To Your Parenting Success!
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