A recent study by the University of New Hampshire showed that one in five young people using the Internet received an online sexual solicitation in a one-year period. In an alarming 15% of those cases, the solicitor attempted to meet the child in person.
Keep Current with technology. You don't have to be an expert, but a little understanding goes a long way towards keeping your child safe online.
Get basic technical training and learn about new products as they're released.
Keep Communicating with your children about everything they experience on the Internet. Know their lingo, and ask when you don't understand something. Work to keep communication lines open.
Keep Checking your children's Internet activity. Know where they go online. Let them know that you'll keep checking because you want them to understand that the Internet is a public forum and never truly private. You don’t have to be a computer expert to keep your child safe online. iKeepSafe has created resources for each age group to help your family have a safe, healthy and enjoyable experience using connected technologies.
Inappropriate Contact –Teach kids how to recognize and protect themselves against contact with cyber-bullies, hackers, phishers, and predators. People aren't always who they say they are. Teach kids to keep away from Internet strangers: the Internet is a place to enhance existing relationships, not a place to meet new people.
Inappropriate Content- This includes both content that is viewed and content that is uploaded by kids. Help kids understand that the Internet is forever: everything they post online is tracked and stored and will follow them to future job interviews and college entrance interviews.
Inappropriate Conduct – Because the web environment can feel anonymous, some youth become dis-inhibited. Teach kids that the Internet is a public forum: anonymity is a myth. Help them be the good person online that they are when they’re off line.
Avoiding Internet Predators:
Keep user names and profiles generic and anonymous.
Discuss your child’s online screen name, profile, and activities. Many provide too much personal information. Ensure all screen names and profiles are nonspecific.
• Avoid posting personal photos online.
Pictures can be altered to embarrass or humiliate. They also provide personal information that can help an Internet predator act familiar by pretending to know you, your children, and/or their friends.
• Always keep private information private.
With just three pieces of personal information, specialized Internet search engines can be used to locate someone anywhere. Internet conversations should never include any personal information.
• Place the family computer in an open area.
A responsible adult should always accompany minors while they access the Internet to provide support and direction should they be confronted with an aggressive solicitation or inappropriate materials.
• Remind children that online "friends" are still strangers.
Predators trick their victims into believing that they have similar interests and groom children to desire a more intimate relationship. The reality is that online friends are still strangers, and your child can never be sure that the person is who he or she says.
• Respect children’s privacy.
Respect your child’s privacy, but make certain he or she knows everyone on his or her e-mail or instant messenger "Buddy" list. Work to generate parent and child trust that supports open and honest Internet use.
• Become a part of your child’s online experience.
It can be a fun journey to explore the wonders of the Internet as a family. As computer-savvy as kids and teens are today, they will certainly teach you a thing or two!
• Be aware of phone calls or mail deliveries from unfamiliar persons.
Predators often call or send gifts to their potential victims in their process of grooming.
• Learn about the Internet.
The more you know about how the Internet works, the better prepared you are to teach your children about how online predators operate and what you can do together to identify and elude them.
Kid Safe Links
Major Children's Guides & Directories
The kid-safe directories below use human beings to filter out sites that might be considered objectionable for viewing by children.
Ask Jeeves For Kids http://www.ajkids.com/
Ask Jeeves is a unique service where you enter a question, and Ask Jeeves tries to point you to the right web page that provides an answer. At Ask Jeeves For Kids, answers have been vetted for appropriateness. Also, if Ask Jeeves cannot answer a question, it pulls results from various search engines in its metacrawler mode. At Ask Jeeves For Kids, no site that is on the CyberPatrol block list is supposed to be listed.
Backed by librarians, KidsClick lists about 5,000 web sites in various categories.
Yahooligans http://www.yahooligans.com/ Yahoo for kids, designed for ages 7 to 12. Sites are hand-picked to be appropriate for children. Also, unlike normal Yahoo, searches will not bring back matched found by crawling the web, if there is no match from within the Yahooligan listings. This prevents possibly objectionable sites from slipping onto the screen. Additionally, adult-oriented banner advertising will not appear within the service. Yahooligans is the oldest major directory for children, launched in March 1996.
Other Children's Search Engines
ALA Great Web Site for Kids http://www.ala.org/greatsites
An organized directory of sites selected by members of the American Library Association usingrigorous evaluation guidelines to assure high quality content, authority and "strength of character."
Awesome Library http://www.awesomelibrary.org/
Over 14,000 sites have been classified into a directory, specifically organized for teachers, students and parents. Information can be found by browsing or searching.
Billed as an ad free, non-commercial directory of web sites designed for child-safe searching.
Education World http://www.education-world.com/
Over 500,000 sites of interest to educators. Browsable or searchable, with the ability to narrow in by appropriate grade level. Launched in spring 1996.
Fact Monster http://www.factmonster.com/
Reference provider Information Please produces this site which provides facts and information oriented around the needs of children.
FirstGov for Kids http://www.kids.gov/
From the U.S. Federal Citizen Information Center, this directory provides links to government-related kids' sites along with some of the best kids' sites from other organizations, grouped by subject.
Kids Search Tools http://www.rcls.org/ksearch.htm
Search a variety of kid-safe search engines from a single page.
Index of pages built by crawling education web sites.
Directory of web sites for teachers and educators.
TekMom's Search Tools for Students http://www.tekmom.com/search/
All-in-one search page for kid search sites and research resources.
ThinkQuest Library http://www.thinkquest.org/library/
A free educational resource featuring 5,500+ websites created by students around the world as part of a competition.
Ultimate Kid Safe Search Page