Straight Talk: Parents need to teach their kids about online safety

| August 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Vanessa Lynch
News Editor

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Today’s children are technological mavens; they are the masters of multitasking and can watch TV, listen to music, post comments on Facebook, trend on Twitter — all while doing their algebra homework.

Gone are the days where kids play freely outside until the sun goes down; nowadays, children spend more time glued to technology than in generations past.

With this dependency on technology, a new world of worry opens for parents.

Parents are urged to take proactive measures and monitor what technologies their children have access to, as well as with whom they are communicating with at the other end.

Since today’s kids are already riding the wave of the future — and are typically light-years ahead of their parents — suites of software are available that enable parents to monitor instant messaging and chat sessions, and to view where their child surfed online and what pictures have been downloaded or exchanged.

If installing secret hardware seems too complicated, talking with your children about the hidden dangers that linger in cyberspace is always the best option.

The Internet is an amazing tool for everyone. It can help students do research for colleges or homework assignments; it allows people to work from home, and it can be used for pure entertainment. No matter what the reason, the Internet can be quite the powerful tool.

The problem is, some problems with the Internet could involve your child’s safety. The Hawaii Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has compiled some useful information for both young and old alike.

For keiki

•Do not give personal information such as your address, telephone number, parent’s work address or telephone number, or the name and location of your school.

•Tell your parents if something that you come across online makes you feel uncomfortable.

•Never agree to get together with someone you meet online without your parents’ permission. If your parents agree to the meeting, be sure the meeting is in a public place and that you bring your parents along.

•Never respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening or make you feel uncomfortable. Give a copy of such messages to your parents and have your parents forward these messages to your Internet service provider.

•Never send pictures of yourself or any other personal material to a friend you meet online without telling your parents first.

•Follow the rules that your parents set for your online activities.

For grownups

•Become more computer literate; get to know the services your child uses. Find out what types of information your service offers and whether built-in programs can block out objectionable material.

•Consider using a pseudonym or unlisting your child’s name if your service allows. Steer away from online profiles. Pedophiles often use profiles as a means to find victims.

•Never allow a child to arrange a face-to-face meeting with another computer user without permission. If a meeting is arranged, make the first meeting in a public place and accompany your child to the meeting.

•Do not allow your child to respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent or threatening. Forward a copy of such messages to your Internet service provider.

•Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 if you are aware of  transmission, use or viewing of child pornography online.

•Never give out any personal information, such as your address, telephone number, work number or your child’s school name.

•Keep the computer in your family room — so you can watch and monitor your child’s activities.

•Share an email account with your child so that you can oversee his or her mail.

•Spend as much time as possible online together to show your children proper behavior and rules.

•Do not allow your children to go into private chat rooms without you being present.

•Consider using an online service that has special child accounts with restricted access to chat rooms and the Internet.

(Editor’s Note: Information was compiled from http://hawaii.gov/ag/hicac/main/Safety.)

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Category: News, Police Call, Safety

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