Sunday, July 23, 2017

Parents Beware, Ensure Child Safety on the Internet!

Kids On Internet - photo by Gary Brockman

Child safety on the internet is a growing concern not only among parents but authorities as well. With the continuing upsurge of the World Wide Web’s accessibility not only through desktop computers but even through mobile phones, online censorship and content restriction is becoming a concern even of governments. Child safety on the internet is a real threat because children can invariably be exposed to racy graphics, adult materials and other prohibited and/or illegitimate information.

Teenagers and even pre-teens are increasingly exposed to inappropriate materials and dangerous sexual predators because they can go online without supervision. The proliferation of chat rooms makes them more vulnerable to engage in online discussion with strangers. The danger lies in the fact that a great majority of these chat rooms have discussion and forum boards on adult topics, relationships and sex.

Even while performing a legitimate search on the internet children can be redirected to sites with material content; sometimes, pop-up advertisements also contain inappropriate language and graphics. Out of curiosity, they can simply click on these links and get redirected to pornographic sites including sites with violent content as well. There are web sites that house racist and hateful material and sites that encourage people including children and teenagers to engage in illegal and racist activities. The problem lies in the fact that most children and teenagers are not aware of safety and identity protection in the internet and readily sign up to join chat rooms and discussion boards with their email addresses through they receive advertisements and offers from other parties.

Due to the anonymity of the internet, some teenagers resort to bullying others using through emails.

A very concerning issue on child safety on the internet is the presence of sexual predators. Child molesters or sexual deviants regularly prowl the internet and hookup with innocent children and teenagers through chat rooms. They then befriend their prey, arrange for a meeting in person in order to pursue their dastardly intentions.

To a lesser extent, children and teenagers are also most often the unknowing conduit through which hackers can attack personal computers by means of a virus because they are less concerned about safety on the internet. They can easily download compromised music files, games that contain a virus designed to steal personal information like credit card number, social security number or simply to disable their personal computers.

There are instances when children provide confidential information to phishing sites thinking that they are connected to a legitimate and trustworthy site because they look almost exactly the same.

It is the parent’s responsibility to inform and educate their children on child safety on the internet and impose rules and guidelines on usage of the internet. They should also consider setting up parental control programs in order to block certain sites and adult contents, install user password with limited access and download capabilities and program installation in order to balance their children’s independence and privacy with parental involvement.

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