How to Protect Kids From Online Predators

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Though the Internet can be a wonderful tool for learning and staying connected with others, it is also a place where online predators lurk, looking for their next victim. The anonymity of the Internet means that the 13-year-old "friend" that your teen is talking with may not really be 13 at all. It’s up to you to protect your children from online predators. With knowledge about what to avoid, you can keep your kids safe when they play online.

Communication is Key

Open the lines of communication about online predators. Talk to your child about the potential for abuse and the dangers of revealing too much personal information on websites.

Location, Location, Location

Keep computers in a high-traffic area. If your child has a computer in her room, she can more easily hide her online activities. With the computer in the kitchen or family room, you have the opportunity to monitor what she’s doing casually.

Get to Know Your Way Around the Net

Become more computer-literate yourself. If you are not familiar with current trends online, it’s time to get with the times. You should know which sites are popular with kids the same age as your child, and visit these sites so you know what to expect. You should also learn common chat room abbreviations, so you always know what your child is saying.

Nothing Personal

Stress the importance of not giving out personal details. Your child should not give out information like his address or phone number to someone he’s met online, even if that person is supposed to be someone his own age.

Parental Control

Install parental controls on the computer. Parental controls allow you to restrict access to certain sites or certain types of sites. For example, you can block pornography. However, these may also block sites that your child does need to use for school, so use it as a last resort.

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