Implement both safety rules and software tools to protect
your children online, one without the other is ineffective.
Rule: Teach your children to never
give personal information over the Internet, such as name, address,
telephone number, password, parents' names, the name of any club
or team he/she is involved in, name of his/her school, or after
Rule: Disallow chat rooms / Recognize
that chat rooms are the playground of today's sexual predator.
- In a study of 4 million children between the ages of 7 and
17 who use the Internet, 29% indicated they would give out their
home address and 14% would give out their email address if asked
(NOP Research Group, 2002).
- 81% of parents of online teens say that teens aren’t
careful enough when giving out information about themselves
online and 79% of online teens agree with this (Pew Internet
& American Life Project, March 17, 2005).
Rule: Limit your child's Instant
Messaging to a parental approved buddy list. Regularly check your
child's buddy list to ensure that it has not been altered.
- Approximately 89% of sexual solicitations of youth were made
in either chat rooms or through Instant Messaging (Pew Study
reported in JAMA, 2001).
- 1 in 5 youth ages 10 to 17 received sexual solicitation or
approach in last year (Online Victimization, NCMEC, June 2000).
- “30% of teenage girls polled by the Girl Scout Research
Institute said they had been sexually harassed in a chatroom.
Only 7% told their parent because they were worried that their
parents would ban them from going online” (Girl Scout
Research Institute, 2002).
- "86% of the girls polled said they could chat online
without their parents’ knowledge, 57% could read their
parents’ e-mail, and 54% could conduct a cyber relationship”
(Girl Scout Research Institute, 2002).
- Law enforcement officials estimate that as many as 50,000
sexual predators are online at any given moment (Dateline, 2006).
Rule: Place your computer in an area
of your home where you can easily supervise your child's Internet
activity. If you allow your child to have a webcam, place it in
a public area of your house.
- 42% of parents do not review the content of what their teenager(s)
read and/or type in chat rooms or via instant messaging (The
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and NetSmartz,
- 95% of parents didn’t recognize common chat room lingo
that teenagers use to let people they’re chatting with
know that their parents are watching. Those phrases are POS
(parent over shoulder), P911 (parent alert), BRB (be right back),
LOL (laughing out loud) and A/S/L (age/sex/location) (The National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and NetSmartz, June
- Half of teens ages 13-18 often communicate through the Internet
with someone they have not met in person (Polly Klaas Foundation,
December 21, 2005).
- One-third of youth ages 8-18 have talked about meeting someone
they have only met through the Internet (Polly Klaas Foundation,
December 21, 2005).
- Almost one in eight youth ages 8-18 discovered that someone
they were communicating with online was an adult pretending
to be much younger (Polly Klaas Foundation, December 21, 2005).
Rule: Know your kids’ online
activities and friends. (Regularly ask your kids about their online
friends and activities. Role play with your child various dangerous
scenarios that they could encounter online.)
- 30% of parents allow their teenagers to use the computer
in private areas of the house such as a bedroom or a home office.
Parents say they are more vigilant about where their teen(s)
go online if the computer is in a public area of the household
- Nearly three out of 10 (28%) of parents don't know or are
not sure if their teens talk to strangers online (NCMEC/ Cox5/24/05).
- 65% of all parents and 64% of all teens say that teens do
things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to
know about (Pew Internet & American Life Project, March
- The adult Internet porn industry estimates that some traffic
on their sites is 20–30% children (NRC Report, 2002).
Tool: Use parental controls/filtering
or monitoring technology which block access to dangerous sites
- Over half (51%) of parents either do not have or do not know
if they have software on their computer(s) that monitors where
their teenager(s) go online and with whom they interact (NCMEC/Cox
- 70% of teens online have accidentally come across pornography
on the Web (The Kaiser Family Foundation).
- Nine out of 10 children aged between eight and 16 have viewed
pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were
accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process
of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to
search for information or pictures (London School of Economics
- The largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children
between ages 12 and 17 (Family Safe Media website, 2006).
- More than 11 million teens regularly view porn online (“Protecting
Kids Online.” Editorial. The Washington Post, July 1,
Rule: Establish online rules and
an agreement with your child about Internet use at home and outside
of the home (i.e., at a friend's house, at school, at the library,
- 77% of parents do not have rules about what their kids can
do on the computer, such as restricting the amount of time their
kids spend on the computer (Kaiser Family Foundation Study,
Rule: Spend time online alongside
your child and establish an atmosphere of trust regarding computer
usage and online activities.
- Only 25% of children who received a sexual solicitation told
a parent (NCMEC, 2000).
Rule: Monitor the amount of time
your child spends on the Internet, and at what times of day. Excessive
time online, especially at night, may indicate a problem. Remind
your child that Internet use is a privilege, not a right.
- Watch for changes in your child's behavior (mention of adults
you don't know, secretiveness, inappropriate sexual knowledge,
sleeping problems, etc.).
- 23% of youth reported being “very” or “extremely
upset” by exposures to sexual material (Victimization
of Youths on the Internet, 2003).
Rule: Do not permit your child
to have an online profile containing personally identifiable information
or pictures of themselves (My space.com, AOL profiles, etc.).
Rule: Check with your child's
school to see if student projects, artwork, or photos are being
put on school websites. Schools need to be reminded of that risk
and encouraged to allow access to student activities posted on
the school's website by password only.
Rule: Instruct your kids never
to plan a face-to-face meeting with someone that they have met
Rule: Report any content or activity
that you suspect as illegal or criminal to local law enforcement
and to Cybertipline at 1-800-843-5678.
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