Some Simple Steps
Place the family computer in a central room with the monitor facing out into the room. Most experts agree that young people should not have internet access in their rooms.
Develop a list of rules for internet use and place it beside the computer. Here are some examples:
- Place the family computer in a central room with the monitor facing out into the room. Most experts agree that young people should not have internet access in their rooms.
- Computer use is not confidential and we do not hide what we are doing on the computer.
- In our family, we get permission to access the internet.
- We visit websites that are appropriate for our age, and we do not visit websites or access information that are “off limits” for us.
- We don’t send photos or give out personal information without permission, and we will tell our parents about any online messages we receive that make us uncomfortable.
- We share an email account with out parents. We will not open or use any other email accounts.
- We do not enter chat rooms or social networking sites.
- We can go online between the hours of _____and_____.
- Time on the computer is limited to : _____hour(s) per day.
- Time on the internet is limited to: _____hour(s) per day.
- Instant messaging is only allowed with people that we already know and trust in real life. We will provide our parents with a current list of our “buddies.”
- We do not respond to messages from people we do not know.
- These rules apply to our home computer and all other computers we use.
Avoid or Control Online Profiles.
Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace can be positive arenas for young people to express themselves and be creative when used safely. However, if not used wisely, they can provide easy access by predators to young people. It is important that profiles not be used on these sites, as they tell the predator all he needs to know in order to befriend your child. If your child does have an online profile, please control the information that is shared there, and who that information is shared with.
Remind your children that what is posted online is there forever.
There is no taking back what has been posted in a blog or on a social networking site. This can have far-reaching effects in the future, as future employers can access this information when deciding whether or not to give you a job. For the predator, online information is used to blackmail the child if they try to get out of the so-called “relationship.” Often these perpetrators will demand that the child send more pictures (or more explicit ones) in order for him to keep from sending the ones he already has to everyone he knows and using them against the young person in other ways.
Young People and Explicit Photos
Photos that are posted are there forever and can be edited once they are online. Any photo showing a minor involved in sexually explicit behavior is, legally, considered child pornography. Period. There’s no getting around it. This is a serious crime regardless of the original intent of the photographer.
Last week’s boyfriend may be this week’s “ex.” Otherwise “private” pictures may then be used against the ex-boyfriend or girlfriend for humiliating purposes. ANY photo or video that has been circulated is virtually impossible to retrieve!!
When buying a phone for your child, pay attention to the features and be sure you can have control over how the wireless device can be used.