Back To School Tips To Protect Children From Internet Predators

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Now that school is back in session, on-line use will likely increase by children to research reports, communicate with teachers and friends or just play interactive games.

"While the Internet is a wonderful resource, an on-line predator will use its anonymity to develop trust with a child in order to persuade them into sharing personal details quickly," said Dr. Don Bross, Co-director of The Kempe Center's State and Regional Crimes Against Children (START) Program. "Children are absolutely no match for these skilled deceivers."

The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect has developed these tips to help parents discuss this important topic with their child before they fall victim to an Internet predator:

Talk about Internet predators

Predators and possible abductions need to be discussed with your child. No parent wants to scare a child and tell them that there are people that want to do them harm, but these people do exist and children need to know what to do if they come across them on the Internet.

Warn not to give out personal information

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The smallest amount of information -- the name of your child's school, the school's mascot, their favorite sport -- can help a predator find a child. Make it clear to your child that they should never give out any personal information over the Internet.

Parents should also become more computer literate and Web savvy. Know the ins and outs of the websites that your children are surfing.

Set rules for Internet use

Before allowing your child to use the Internet, sit down and set specific rules for the Internet. A good starting point is to establish time management guidelines and clearly define what can and cannot be said while online. Also, consider signing a contract that clearly spells out these rules. This will reinforce how serious you are about protecting them from predators.

Let them know that they can always come to you

Once a predator has established a relationship with your child, they will convince them that they cannot go to you for help, because they have done something wrong. Letting your child know that they can come to you "no matter what" is necessary to keep them safe.

Insist that your child never meet anyone face-to-face that they have met online.

Remind them of this as often as you can. The cute boy or girl that they met online that claims to be their age may, or may not be who they say they are.

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