What are the Risks for Children Online?
While the Internet is fundamentally a great place for children, there are some areas of cyberspace that are not appropriate, just as there are areas in almost every city that are inappropriate for children. There are also certain activities on the Internet that may be appropriate for adults but not for children, and areas that are suitable for some children and not for others.
While you’re making those decisions it helps to remember there are many viewpoints on the Internet. How a Web site or activity looks from within one family is very different from the way it’s viewed by a whole society — or a whole world, for that matter. The Internet is a global medium. Online activities that may be distasteful to almost anyone who cares about children may also be protected by free speech and other laws in the United States. Other Net activities — like child pornography or the attempted luring of a child to a face-to-face meeting — are illegal in many, but not all, countries.
Keeping children safe on the Internet is everyone’s job.
- Parents need to stay in close touch with their kids as they explore the Internet.
- Teachers need to help students use the Internet appropriately and safely.
- Community groups, including libraries, after-school programs, and others should help educate the public about safe surfing.
Kids and teens need to learn to take responsibility for their own behavior — with guidance from their families and communities. It’s not at all uncommon for kids to know more about the Internet and computers than their parents or teachers. If that’s the case in your home or classroom, don’t despair. You can use this as an opportunity to turn the tables by having your child teach you a thing or two about the Internet. Ask her where she likes to go on the Internet and what she thinks you might enjoy on the Net. Get your child to talk with you about what’s good and not so good about his Internet experience. Also, no matter how Web-literate your kid is, you should still provide guidance. You can’t automate good parenting.
Tools for Parents
Parents often wish there was a “fool-proof” solution for protecting kids on the Internet. Of course there is no perfect way to protect kids — online or anywhere else.
If there is an immediate threat of harm to you or your child, call 911, as with similar emergencies offline.
In other cases contact your local police department for assistance.
There are some very important things that you need to keep in mind when you’re on your computer at home or at school
- First, remember never to give out personal information such as your name, home address, school name, or telephone number in a chat room or on bulletin boards. Also, never send a picture of yourself to someone you chat with on the computer without your parent’s permission.
- Never write to someone who has made you feel uncomfortable or scared.
- Do not meet with someone you have meet online or have them visit you.
- Tell your parents right away if you read anything on the Internet that makes you feel uncomfortable
Remember that people online may not be who they say they are. Someone who says that “she” is a “12-year-old girl” could really be an older man
- Report a phone scam here
If you become a victim of identity fraud
You receive your credit card statement only to see several items you don’t recall purchasing. Is it possible that your identity has been stolen? Is someone committing personal fraud in your good name? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a consumer alert on the Identity Crisis and what you can do if your Identity is stolen. Should you find yourself the victim of identity theft, following these steps immediately:
- Contact The Federal Trade Commission – ID Theft
Contact all creditors involved
File a police report
- Contact The Better Business Bureau
Please Contact Officer Shannon Haley 508-896-7011 for any questions you may have.