The Internet and Computers are becoming a necessity in our homes. Nearly everything we do be it registering a new appliance, paying bills, finding a movie, restaurant or an amusement park for location and hours, is easy online. Why “let your fingers do the walking” in the yellow pages as the phone book companies used to say, when you can find it with a few keystrokes and click of the mouse online?
Becoming computer literate is a must say California education standards. Even the 1st through 6th Grade and Middle Schools have computer labs! As a research and learning tool the computer, with the Internet and it’s unlimited resources if used in a safe manner can make all the difference in how well your child does on homework and assignments.
There is temptation and danger Online
When kids sit down at the computer the temptation to venture out and surf away from homework into chat, blogs and MySpace is extremely high. What kid wouldn’t want to see what their friends are talking about, listen to music and make their own free webpage? MySpace.com is a good example of the most inviting of these temptations. Nearly every internet savvy kid knows about MySpace. Opening with “what’s your MySpace?” when they meet a new friend in person is very common as part of getting to know each other. A local English teacher who also works in the computer lab guestimates one in four of her 8th grade students has their own MySpace.
MySpace.com- Danger Danger Danger!
There are countless articles on how kids have gotten in trouble and endangered their lives by turning to MySpace as a way, initially to get to know other kids their age. Read your kids articles about teens who have really gotten in hot water with MySpace to help them understand how persistant and dangerous the preditors really can be.
For an example of a good kid in trouble read the New York Times story of Justin Berry, who at age 13, innocent, lonely and computer-wise, behind the closed door of his room quickly exposed himself to countless pedophiles in a matter of minutes on MySpace.com. The scariest part of this Report was the video interview with the then 18 year old where he warns others of how much his experience “messed him up”.
How do you keep your child interested in learning, doing productive things and away from the dangers online? That’s a good question because the way they see it all the other kids are interacting on MySpace, sharing their favorite music and expanding their circle of friends there.
Begin by Educating Yourself and Your Kids!
Read this CBS News Report to see how to protect Kids on MySpace.
Sit with your child when they are on their MySpace.
If they switch screens or minimize the page and refuse to show you every time you try they are hiding something. This is when you have to either get software filters or a software program that tracks every keystroke, every page, every website they go to, to find out who they are chatting with and what they are saying.
Visit a page we here at JerSooz made a few years ago for more information on Kids Safety. Towards the bottom you will find a table with links that are designed help you get the information you need to keep your kids safe on the Internet.
Another option is to use your Browser History, Chat History, Cookies and Temporary Internet Files to figure out where they go yourself. See below on how to do this.
Check for saved images- Another thing most kids do is save pictures from the people they talk to and websites they enjoy. This is a way to get an idea of what they are really interested in when they are not telling you everything.
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported more than 2,600 incidents last year of adults using the Internet to entice children. With numbers like that, you’d think all parents would be hovering over their kids, demanding to know everything they’re doing online. Check out your kids’ and all their friends Chat and MySpace profiles.
Do yourself a favor and make sure their Login and Password are set on automatic when your child goes into chat and MySpace online. Even if you are accused of invading their privacy it is worth it to pretend you are them a few times and see what sort of conversations they have online and whom with.
You might be amazed and upset by who you find yourself chatting with and what is said but do not break your cover just yet! Above all things remember you are doing this to protect your kids safety. By doing this you will either find that your child is the perfect innocent kid just having fun online or…get enough proof that they need more strict guidelines, rules, parental controls, or to have the internet taken away until they can get a handle on it. It’s for their own good!
Did You Know How Easily Your Location Can Be Found Online?
You are not annonymous online and your address can easily be found. This, of course means your kids on the internet in your home can be found by outsiders. It also means that you are responsible for trouble they might get into on your internet connection!
It’s simple, really, every internet connection has an identifying number that shows where your internet connection is. IP or Internet Protocol addresses show in chats and when you send an email. Want to see how easy it is to find someone with their IP Address? Start with your own IP address, Visit GeoBytes IP Address Locater page, and see for yourself!