Internet Danger

On the Internet, accessibility takes various forms, says Antimatter’s . Org, an online resource that educates parents about Internet safety. Accessibility Includes sending hateful messages or even death threats to children, spreading lies about them online, making nasty comments on their social networking profiles, or creating a website to bash their looks or reputation. Accessibility differs from schoolyard bullying, Handy says. Teachers can’t intervene on the Internet. “When it happens online, there’s no one to filter it,” she says.

And submersibles don’t witness their victims’ reactions, the way they might If they Insulted others to their faces. “They don’t see you crying,” Handy says, which may make it easier for them to continue. Some submersibles pose as their victims and send out harassing messages to others. Recently, submersibles have also begun posting humiliating videos of other kids they dislike, says Parry Abaft, a cyberspace security and privacy lawyer who also serves as executive director of Wiretapped. Org, one of the largest Internet safety education groups in the world. Internet Danger #2: Sexual Predators

The online world opens the door for trusting young people to Interact with virtual strangers – even people they’d normally cross the street to avoid in real life. About 1 in 7 kids have been sexually solicited online, says John Sheehan, Cybernetic program manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia. The Cyber Tapeline helps prevent sexual exploitation of children by reporting cases of kids enticed online to do sexual acts. While sexual predators have targeted children In chat rooms, they migrate to wherever young people go online, Sheehan says.

More predators are now scouring social networking sites, such as Namespace and Gang, because these sites have centralized so much information, Sheehan says. A child’s profile typically includes photos, personal interests and blobs. “In terms of predators, that’s obviously a hot spot where they can go to research victims,” Sheehan says. “They need to meet these kids, groom these children and become friends. ” Predators may take on fake identities and feign Interest in a child’s favorite bands, TV shows, video games or hobbles. “They come across to the children as their new best friend.

They’re going to have the same Likes and dislikes,” Sheehan says. “It’s quite crafty what these child predators will go through. ” Internet Danger #3: Pornography One of the worst dangers of the Internet, for many parents, is the idea that pornography could pop up and surprise their children. But parents may not realize that some kids are going online to seek out web porn, too. You can view the Internet browser history to see which websites your child Is visiting, Sheehan says. But since kids can delete this history, you may want to Install Internet filtering software to block porn sites in the first place.

Software filters aren’t a perfect solution; some nasty sites can slip through, while educational or family-rated sites may be blocked. So while some parents may wonder whether monitoring means they’re spying on their kids, the safety factor often wins out. “If you get the monitoring software, put it on the computer and forget that It’s there,” Abaft says. That way, if someone’s viewing porn, you’ll have the records to deal with It. Cams are everywhere these days, and kids can be victims of their own inexperience with new technology. Many post pictures, videos or notes online that they later regret.

Think before you post, because once you do, it’s going to be up there forever,” Sheehan says. A child’s online reputation is a growing concern, Abaft says, with the rise of online social networking and profiles. She cites reports of schools and employers rejecting young people for high school programs, internships, college admissions and Jobs after checking out what applicants have posted online. Many teenage girls put up provocative photos of themselves, Sheehan says. Why? Handy – a teenager herself – believes it’s a game of one-musicianship. “Kids are trying to look cool. They’re doing it because everyone else is doing it.

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