Guest Post by
Be Careful What Those Little Eyes Can See: Kids Online Safety
The Internet has made maintaining your children's innocence increasingly difficult. Nowadays, they can access details of tragedies beyond their scope of understanding or be targeted for any number of hurtful crimes from identity theft to online bullying. The digital world has exposed new generations to types of information and communication previously unheard of, and it's up to us to take action.
With any technology, even the best intentions can yield some monstrous results, and in the case of the Internet, parental guidance is the only buffer between your precious children and the perils of the world at large.
|Image provided by LifeLock|
According to a study by Knowledge Network, only 41 percent of parents vehemently monitor their children's behavior online and even less use any type of monitoring software. With 2.4 billion people online -- a 500% increase in the last decade -- it's anyone's guess what sort of information they are accessing and who they're getting it from. In addition to being targeted by predators and cyberbullies, children are now increasingly at risk of being targeted by identity thieves, according to Lifelock.com.
Although there's no reason to go into a panic and chuck your computer out a third story window, there is plenty of reason to sit down and learn about the dangers and gently share them with your children. Following are a few suggestions you will likely find helpful.
Establishing boundaries is one of the most important parts of parenting. Clearly those restrictions are different for every family, but time management and accountability are some of the most important skills children and adults need to thrive. Letting your child loose on Facebook all day may be a tempting way to clear an afternoon for yourself, but what are they really gaining from it?
More than 80% of children have witnessed cyberbullying online but most feel uncomfortable reporting it, according to Dosomething.org. Although you can't prevent this from ever happening to your child, giving them limited or supervised access to the Web can diminish the probability and severity of the situation.
Be There for Your Child
As a parent, you're also a coach, a confidant, a cheerleader and a police officer. It's up to you to wisely choose when to wear each hat. When it comes to the Internet, there's probably going to be a time where you'll have to be each of those things, but being a confidant is probably the most important.
Although every case of online victimization is different, the most destructive thing a child can do is close them self off when something bad happens. For example, an extreme case is the story of Megan Meier, a girl who was bullied by a friend's mother posing as a boy from a neighboring town. The woman befriended Megan, started an online relationship, gained her trust, then began to be increasingly unkind, which allegedly contributed to Megan's ultimate suicide. Although this is a tragic and horrific outcome, it goes to show that cyber victimization, particularly of children, is not a trend to be taken lightly.
About the Author of this Guest Post
Melissa Gallo, mom to two children, used her motherhood experience to get her daycare business going. She also loves sharing her ideas and tips with other moms, dads and caregivers.
FTC Disclosure: No payment or other compensation was exchanged for this story. Thoughts in this story are those of the author of this guest post. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.