What You Should Know About : Cyber Predators

Online predators do exist and may be a threat to your child's safety. Cyber predators target boys and girls of all ages. Through the Internet, the predator can pretend to be whomever he or she wants to be, including a child the same age as your own.

They look for children who have an area of emotional vulnerability that provides an entryway for building trust. Using information like where a child attends school, what sport s/he plays or a jersey number, the predator can easily locate his or her intended victim.

If your children use the Internet to chat with friends, to play games or to social network with others who may share particular interests or hobbies, please consider the following guidelines to keep your child safe.

  1. Keep channels of communication open. Talk to your kids. Let children know you can be trusted to listen to them openly and honestly.
  2. Inform your children that if they encounter anything online that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened, it is probably a red flag that something is not quite right and to talk to you about it.
  3. Parents, set parental controls on your computer at the age appropriate level for your child and monitor his/her Internet activity.
  4. Consider placing your family's computer in a public, heavily trafficked area of the home.

Resources to learn more about cyber safety

http://www.netsmartz.org/Parents - Information for kids, tweens, teens, parents, teachers and law enforcement about online predators. This site is sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Their site includes games and downloadable presentations.

http://www.cyber-safety.com/ - This site offers information for parents and teachers to help keep kids safe online. Find information about local seminars, exhibitions and safety tips. They partner with CyberSafe247 (http://www.cybersafe247.com/), a "smart" modem to help create a child-safe Internet.

Every child needs to know these three Cyber Safety Rules