In days gone by the idea of knowing which websites your child visited was usually deemed sufficient in the effort to keep the child safe from pedophiles and other predators.
Yet with the explosive growth of the â€˜Net and the concurrently occurring information technology revolution that is tying together Internet use with cell phone technology and also other multi media gadgetry, parents need to remain on the cutting edge of online technology to anticipate the dangers their children will be facing on a day to day basis.
Children as young as preteens are nowadays well versed in the use of instant messenger programs and many will begin building their MySpace profiles early on, thwarting the attempts of the sites to weed out the youngest visitors.
Unfortunately the natural skepticism that is innate to older children is lacking in the computer savvy younger generation and thus their naivetÃ© and the cold hard reality of online predators collide.
Knowing the latest methodology kids use to communicate will help you to understand the latest venue online creeps will choose to interact with kids. Your childâ€™s first line of defense will be knowledge. Explain that she or he should never type in anything she or he would not want to have repeated in front of the class the next day.
Make sure your child understands that anything typed in â€“ even if it is only intended to be shared with a few friends under the guise of the current equivalent of pinky promise â€“ may quite possibly become fodder for tomorrowâ€™s playground discussion.
In the same vein, just because another poster claims to be a school aged child in a neighboring town does not mean that this is necessarily the case. Make sure your child understands that the â€˜Net offers anonymity to everyone, and some use it to pretend to be people they are not.
Opening your childâ€™s eyes to the dangers will serve well to ensure that she or he does not unintentionally stumble into a cleverly devised trap.