Potential harm on the Internet isn’t limited to your preteen children. Adults are at risk for some of the same dangers, but the difference is one of gullibility. Children are taught to trust adults, or at least adults they know. This good intention can have catastrophic results when familiarity from a cyber chat room or social site is confused with real, tangible and trusted acquaintances in their lives.
A second issue involved in Internet dangers is tweens’ misconception that one symbol of their growing maturity and independence is freedom of expression and freedom from parental supervision.
Minimizing Online Dangers to Your Tween
Early communication and discussions about cyber bullying, sexual predators and identity theft need to be regular conversations in your household.
As your daughter grows and begins to ask how old she must be before she’s allowed to wear make-up, date or obtain her driver’s license, you should question how old she must be before she can have her own email address or social media account.
These Internet-related activities can expose your daughter to far more danger than wearing lip gloss at 12, and must be discussed as a privilege and not a right.
Tips to Protect Your Daughter from Internet Threats
- Insist that all Internet activity take place in an open area, such as the kitchen table, dining room or the den. Often, a quick glance at a laptop can indicate whether your child should be on that site or not. Never allow your teens to take their computers into their bedroom. Having a desktop sitting in your teens room allows them to venture to sites they wouldn’t normally go if they were in a public area.
- Know your tween’s login name and password for her email address and any social sites. If you allow her to be on Facebook, insist that she add you as a friend and monitor her privacy settings to ensure that she’s not hiding activity from you.
- Review beforehand and approve of any screen name your daughter might use in chat rooms or gaming sites. Obviously, “SweetBaby12” would not be an appropriate screen name.
- Personally know her friends or telephone contacts and how she came to know them. Phones can serve as cameras too, so be sure to make sure he or she isn’t sending any inappropriate pictures. Does your daughter really need a phone with all the bells and whistles? A basic emergency phone which allows her to make phone calls is all she needs. Be the mom that allows her daughter to have girlfriends over to the house. This gives you the upper hand knowing what your daughter is up to, and what she is into, and what her friends are like.
- Explain the reasons behind the rules regarding her Internet use and the length of time you will monitor her activity. Relate it to another maturity marker such as driving, for example. “You’ll be allowed to go online without supervision when….“
- Monitor who she converses with on Skype or iPhone Face Time. Who people present themselves as online can be a far cry from who they turn out to be in real time.
Raising a teen often seems like trying to swim through shark-infested waters, especially when it comes to the anonymity of the Internet.
These tips might not work for every family, but they should help you get started with keeping your tween safe online. In the same way you make clear your expectations about underage drinking, drugs, driving under the influence and dating, set limits on internet activity and explain why.
What is less widely known is that the same dangers can take place when children use mobile phones. A mobile phone is as much an Internet surfing device as a computer. Minors are often “sexted” by adults on their mobile phones or make calls to strangers who seem attractive but turn out to be sexual predators.
It CAN happen. 37-year-old Stefanie Dickinson was charged with sexting a 14-year-old boy who was the friend of her own son. Later she was arrested again for sexually assaulting another child. This is only one of a disturbing number of such incidents.
How does one protect one’s child against these kinds of threats?
Software For Parents
An app called Mobiflock can be used to keep children safe on mobile phones. Parents can use it to get alerted in the case of potentially dangerous cellphone activity. They can see who is calling their children and sending them messages, what websites they are visiting on the phone and even the last place where the device was located.
- With this app, designated individuals can be blocked from making contact with or being contacted by the child over their phones.
- Mobiflock can be used to establish VIP contacts who can always be reached, especially in case of an emergency. Parents can view a report on how the child has been using the phone and adjust the security settings according the the age and personality of that particular child.
- This includes blocking whole categories of websites and making sure that the web searches are safe.
- The smartphone can be deactivated at certain times to prevent children from using it late at night and not getting enough sleep. Email and SMS alerts can be sent to the parents if the child is engaging in an activity that seems to be especially dangerous.
Here are some important rules that children should be asked to follow when using cellphones include the following:
- Avoid making calls in public as much as possible.
- Keep the phone hidden when not using it.
- Never let strangers use it.
- Restrict access to the phone by setting up a password or PIN.
- Avoid using the phone in poorly lit areas.
Picture Credit – Pixabay
Five Tools To Protect Your Privacy Online
Reporting from the 6th Region, Central Chile
We’ve discussed many times before – hardly a month goes by without some major action against Internet users… from Obama’s ‘kill switch’, to ACTA, SOPA and PIPA, to stasi tactics against people like Kim Dotcom.
Online privacy is becoming more important by the day. And nobody is going to give it to you, you have to take steps yourself to secure it.
Below are five different tools and services that will get you started:
Tor is a great weapon in the fight for online anonymity as it allows you to surf the web without giving up your location and other personal data to the websites you visit.
The Tor Browser Bundle is the easiest and most secure way to get started; simply download it, and start surfing the web with the Tor Browser. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
If you want privacy, don’t search with Google.
Google store all of your searches to customize ads for you, but even worse, they can hand over the whole list of searches to any government agency that are curious about what you’ve been looking at for the last couple years.
A better alternative is Duck Duck Go, a completely anonymous search engine that does not store any information about you or your searches. The search results are essentially identical to Google’s, so there’s no loss of quality.
HTTPS Everywhere is a plug-in for Firefox and Google Chrome that tries to force a website to connect in secure mode, thus encrypting your traffic with the website you are visiting. This makes your browsing more secure because it prevents eavesdropping thieves or state-mafia from intercepting your unencrypted Internet traffic.
Cryptocat is an encrypted chat that beats Facebook and Skype when it comes to security and privacy. If you want to chat in private then this is one simple solution. It’s also open source, which means you can see the full code and be sure there are no government “backdoors” built in.
Read more of this article on his site…..