KEEPING YOUR KIDS SAFE WHILE SURFING ONLINE – There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by without the media reporting a case of child abuse online, that is a child has been attacked verbally or being groomed by online perverts.
When it comes to the use of Social Networks, such as Facebook, parents are being warned that their kids can become the target of internet trolls who engage in abusing others to a point where reports have been made that child has committed suicide.
In a recent case, and this is nothing new, a 12 year old girl was groomed over a period of 4 months by online perverts, resulting in the child performing sex acts on her webcam. This type of incident is by no means an isolated one and parents are being urged by a government and child watch groups to monitor their child’s online activities and indeed never to leave them alone while using their social networks.
It was only recently in the United Kingdom that the government bowed to pressure from the public to force the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) to block pornography and only allowing access if the subscriber makes a request for the block to be lifted.
With the vast amount of pornography online it is all too easy for our children to gain access and view material that even some worldly adults would find shocking and disturbing and therefore the move by the government has to be a step in the right direction in the pursuit of protecting our children.
I recently read an extremely good article ‘Kids and Socializing Online’ which outlines some very practical advice for parents. It includes the obvious, such as monitoring their use and restricting the amount of time spent using the social networks.
One aspect the article covers is about teaching our own children to respect others while using the social networks and instruct them that their actions, or words, can often have devastating consequences for the individual that the remarks are aimed at.
It is important to realize that not all social network users create accounts using their real name or indeed their real photograph. Many accounts are setup with the sole purpose of remaining anonymous and causing harm to others and while the likes of Facebook are working on ways to reduce the problem it has to be a realization, in all parents and users, minds that this type of behaviour is unlikely ever to be curbed fully.
As the internet becomes a more social place with it comes hidden and unseen dangers and the only way to prevent your child from becoming a victim of online abuse is to ensure that you carefully monitor what your child does and who they interact with while online.