Millions of children use the internet on a daily basis. While the internet can be a positive influence in the lives of these children, it also poses risks and dangers that are becoming more and more prevalent each and every day. It is because of these dangers that parents must take initiative and help protect children. The more parents know about the risks and dangers, the more apt they are to learn the benefits of parental controls and how to effectively use them.
While as many as 74% of parents surveyed say that they are concerned about their child’s safety on social networking sites such as Facebook, few are actually aware of the statistics regarding the safety of children on the internet. Perhaps providing parents with the alarming facts surrounding the dangers of the internet will encourage them to take charge and begin using internet control in an effort to protect their children in the online environment. Below are a few statistics that are sure to get parents thinking long and hard about using parent controls to help protect their children.
- Pornography. Nearly 79% of youth exposure to pornography occurs in the home. 70% of them have stumbled upon it accidentally. Protecting kids from porn will involve internet control of website visiting, intercepting emails, and monitoring social networking.
- Online sexual predators. 1 in 5 children receives sexual solicitation in a one year period. 4% of youth who have accessed the internet have received aggressive sexual solicitation that has left them feeling upset or extremely afraid. It is pertinent that parents try to monitor their child’s activity on social networking sites and in chat rooms.
- Social networking. 58% of teens don’t think that posting photos or other private information is wrong. 8% of teens admit to posting their cell phone number online.
- Strangers. 69% of teens regularly receive personal messages from people they don’t know and don’t tell anyone about it. 54% frequently have private conversations via instant messaging with online predators.
- Sex. 27% of teens say that have talked to a stranger online about sex.
- Cyber bullying. 30% of children have been cyber bullied on the social networking site Facebook.
These are just a few of the many statistics surrounding the dangers of the internet. Surveys have shown time and time again that children are, in fact, being targeted in the online environment.
Parents as Protection
With the internet becoming an increasingly threatening environment for children, something must be done to protect their well being. Just as parents are expected to provide a safe home environment for their children, providing protection against the dangers of the internet should also be required. While there is no law stating that a child’s activity on the internet must be monitored, parents must take it upon themselves to provide the protection. The dangers are real and the information available to help provide protection should never be taken for granted.
The internet can be compared to a large playground where it seems virtually impossible to dictate every move a child makes. In part this is true. However, if the right measures of parental control are taken, protecting children in the online environment isn’t as difficult as it seems. Below are a few suggestions for how parents can provide protection for their children online. These ideas can be classified as parental control.
- Taking control of social networking. While children still access chat rooms and inappropriate websites online, many of them are strictly using social networking websites. Facebook has become one of the most popular places for teens and children to hang out in the virtual world. With 38% of kids on Facebook under the age of 13, parents must find a way to use internet control and monitor their kids while they use the website. While some parents choose to simply browse their child’s profile every now and then to look for signs, others have realized the dangers and have faced the problem head on by installing parental control software designed specifically for recognizing the dangers on Facebook. Offered by MinorMonitor.com, this software is quickly proving effective by giving parents the internet control they boost protection.
- Learning about the internet. Children today often know more about the internet than their parents do. They have created internet savvy ways to outsmart their parents. For this reason parent must take the time to learn all they can about the internet. What websites are most popular for kids? What symbols and short cuts are they using when texting and instant messaging? Are they taking part in online activities that can put them at risk? These are just a few of the many questions that parents need to learn the answer to. Learning more about the internet can be a tool for parents to help control their children on the web.
- Staying up to date on parental control tools. As the internet becomes more dangerous, new software is being developed to aid parents in keeping their kids safe. Parents must determine whether or not the parental control software they are using is actually providing protection. Outdated software may be giving parents false hope that their children are being protected. Only the latest software that targets specific popular websites among kids should be used to help parents protect their kids. A reliable search of parental control tools can lead parents to software that will without a doubt make protecting children easier.
- Being an advocate. Parents who want to protect their kids from the dangers of the internet can be an advocate. Help raise awareness of the dangers by talking with other parents and children about the dangers, passing along valuable information, and supporting websites and companies that have the goals of protecting children in the online environment. Being a voice for internet protection for children can make a huge impact.
Controlling what children do on the internet will never be an easy task. Parents must begin by making a commitment to protect their children at all costs. Taking advantage of online tools such as parental control software, staying informed on the dangers, and being an advocate can help parents reduce the risk of the internet becoming a stumbling block in the lives of their children.