As a teenager I can relate to most kids my age and give insight as to how to handle them when it comes to Internet usage. That's why I'm going to give my view on three points regarding your kids and the Internet.
Children are known to be curious, and sometimes that can be a dangerous thing. But what you need to remember as parents is that as children and especially teenagers, we aren't dumb. We know what we should and should not do. Granted there are rare occasions where we make an honest mistake. In most cases itís not a mistake when we suddenly start frantically clicking out of windows when you walk in. Usually we aren't aware of the danger we're putting ourselves in, or if we get a virus on your computer. Rather we're too concerned whether or not youíre going find the various sites we've been to. This is something to be extremely concerned about. You need to remember, this is the Internet, anything imaginable can be found here. However, more often than not it ends up being some kind of adult website. Which brings me to my next point...
All websites containing any mature content are required to verify that the those who visit the page are 18+ years of age. But in this day and age it is very common for mature sites and even online businesses to have members under the age of 18 and even under the age of 14. As a parent you need to do stop them. You may try to avoid the 'birds and the bees' talk, but honestly who do you think would be better, you or an adult website? Not only does this expose your teen to various mature themes, but also puts them in a position to easily be taken advantage of.
By visiting and signing up for random sites or opening shady emails, not only can they compromise your computer's security, but their own. There are countless stories of people having their credit card number, social security number, and even identity stolen over the Internet, in most cases adults. But did you know that minors are the most sought after by con artist and scammers? Not only are they inexperienced, but also they have no debt. Since children won't be applying for credit to buy a car or receive a credit card for years to come, people who steal these numbers can use them to obtain phony lines of credit and rack up debt. Then there are more obvious dangers such as those who would take advantage of kids and the like. However, it is possible to prevent your children from visiting such sites and experiencing such danger.
Next week, we'll examine alternative ways to keep your child safer online.