Helpful tips on how you can help protect your children and students from online predators:
Communicate and Discuss the Dangers of the Internet with Your Children
Although the Internet is a valuable resource, it also provides a means by which predators can target your children. Discuss the potential hazards of the Internet with your children to help prevent them from becoming victims.
Become Computer Literate
Resources like software and classes can help you become computer literate. Learning a few simple techniques can show you where your child has been online recently.
Keep the Computer in a Central Room to Monitor Online Activity
Place the computer in a public room so that you can keep an eye on their time online.
Establish Rules for your Children’s Internet Usage
Determine how long your children can surf the net as well as which sites they are allowed to visit.
Learn Your Internet Lingo
IM (Instant Messaging) has given birth to a slew of acronyms to describe phrases. For example, POS = “parent over shoulder”
Use Parental Controls and/or Blocking Software
Software, as well as most Internet Service Providers (ISPs), provide controls that block access to inappropriate sites.
Update Computer Protection Software
Keep firewalls and spyware protection current.
Maintain Access to Your Child's Account and Randomly Check Email
Given the anonymity of the Internet, email is an easy way for predators to track down victims. Keeping track of who is contacting your child could help prevent an incident.
Never Provide Personal Information on the "Member Profiles" Forms
Many websites may ask for your personal data. However, because pedophiles and scam artists often use profiles as a means to find victims, avoid completing these forms.
Never Send Pictures or Personal Information to an Unfamiliar Email Address
Always know who you're communicating with.
Report Inappropriate Online Activities
Contact the police immediately if a stranger tries to set up a meeting with your child. Report any on-line child pornography to your service provider and to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. You can also file a report online.
Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, FBI