Children online are very vulnerable to sexual predators. Children need to be educated on the do’s and don’t’s when browsing the Internet. Very much so as you would talk about the birds-and-the-bees, parents need to start talking with their children about the potential dangers online. Children need to know that it is okay to speak up and ask questions of their parents when confronted with suspicious activity online. Child predators are creative, witty and persistent when going after children online. Often times they are very skilled at what they are doing and have probably perpetrated their crimes on children hundreds of times without being caught. There are tools available to parents to help protect their children while they browse the Internet online. However, the best practice is to get in a habit of talking with your children about Internet safety and auditing their activities.
The most important rule in Internet safety is NEVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION. Personal information would include name, age, home address, and phone number. Children should not be using the Internet to make purchases, and therefore have no justifiable reason to provide any personal information without their parent’s permission. The safest practice is to prohibit children from having chat access while online, save for known individuals like family, friends, and close associates of the child. Just because someone may portray themselves as a certain person online, their true identity and character may be grossly different from who they really are in life.
Children need to be advised of how to respond when confronted with offensive email or message that makes them feel uncomfortable. Teach children to show an adult any message received that makes them feel uncomfortable. Parents should also be aware of the new laws in Texas that protect children from certain types of these offensive emails or messages. You’ll learn more about these laws in our section which talks about Sexting. Build a rapport with your child by letting them show you what they can do online, what web sites they enjoy going to, and what Internet friends they’ve made.
For more assistance, contact you Internet service provider and find out what child control features are available to you. Most Internet service providers now provide age appropriate controls that you can alter to allow more or less freedom to your child. Internet accounts should always be in the parent’s name with controlling access to passwords and Internet filtering devices. Parents should always have access to a child’s online accounts and passwords to log in under the child’s account and view favorite websites, friends, and Internet history. If you have any questions on protecting your child online, we have included several resource links below for your information. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us at the Aransas Pass Police Department.