We all have different ways with dealing with government. Many people think it is the government’s job to take care of us in many ways and others think that the government should stay out of our private lives and let us sink or swim as we may.
In no area is this more contested than with our children. The government oversees how our children are educated. In low-income families the government sees to it the children are fed and clothed. When it comes to abusive parents the government steps in and removes the child placing the child’s safety over the right of the parents to keep their child.
However, the government cannot protect your child or teenager while they surf the Internet and browse through the various websites and chatrooms available there. Why? Because the Internet is international. No one government can police the Internet.
This makes some parents unhappy because they are used to the government doing everything for them and consider it their right to do so as American Citizens and because they are used to it.
Many parents for years used the television to baby-sit their children. At least with the television they knew that pornography and other inappropriate content was not landing on their child’s TV screen. Now that babysitting job has been turned over to the computer and many parents will not or cannot monitor their child’s activities while on the Internet.
The NCMEC says that one in five children are solicited for sex online. While I am not sure how accurate their statistics are, I do know that their are child sex predators out there and that there is a lot of opportunity to communicate with children over the Internet.
There are spammers who send pornographic content out indiscriminately to all of the email addresses they can find which means it is not difficult to imagine this content finding its way into your child’s email.
There are people who will try to trick you into giving out private information over the Internet through email and through websites. It is very easy to accidentally click into a website with inappropriate content.
At the same time, teenagers and children alike are curious and you do not always know what they choose to expose themselves to. But as a parent you need to know. it is your job to make sure that your child is safe online.
It is not the government’s job. It is not the job of the owners of various websites. it is your job as a parent to be sure your child is safe online. There are plenty of ways to do this.
1. Put the computer in a common area the same as you do with your television. This makes it easy to monitor what is happening online and discourages your children or teens to participate in risky behavior. It also discourages predators from talking with your child if they know there are people around.
2. Get software that monitors your child or teenager while they are on the computer. This software will block inappropriate content from appearing on your child’s monitor. It will also let you view logs that show where your child has been on the Internet. It will monitor what they say in chatrooms and email. It will let you set timers that take a picture or screen capture at those times so you can actually see what they viewed online. You can even set up alerts to notify you by cellphone or email when your child accesses inappropriate content. You can download monitoring software here at this website, http://www.onlinesafetyshield.com
3. You can talk with your children and explain to them the dangers of giving out private information over the Internet, surfing the wrong kind of websites, or engaging in risky behavior and what to do about it if they have a problem. By communicating with your child they know they can always come to you if there is a problem.
Parents please keep in mind that it is you that has the awesome responsibility of keeping your child safe on the Internet. Do not leave it up to others to decide what is or is not appropriate for your child.