Many parents believe the Web comes with a set of rules each user must adhere to. In fact, they feel if someone agrees to a site’s Terms of Service rules, they automatically will act acceptable online. However, the truth is most people push “agree” without even reading over the terms. Thus, cyberspace “law” won’t fully protect children from online predators.
To better protect children, parents should do the following:
1. Limit Computer Use: Not only do children need to be outside playing and being active, but they also should have limited computer use to avoid them from being trapped by an online predator. Parents should give children specific amounts of time each week to be on the computer, monitor the use and enforce their limits.
2. Inform Children Of Risks: It’s always a good idea to use age-appropriate language to inform your children about the risks associated with using the Web. Not only do you want to ensure your children are not giving away any personal information, but you should inform them of what they should do if they accidentally come across inappropriate content of any kind.
3. Know What They’re Doing: While some parents call it “spying”, experts say it’s perfectly acceptable for parents to know where their kids go on the Web. Thus, there are many programs available that allow parents to view sites their children access. In addition, keeping the computer in a family centered location of the home can quickly allow you to peek at what the kids are viewing.