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How to Protect Your Children from Internet Predators

Sep 9, 2008
We've all heard of adults trying to contact children online to get sex. If you are a parent, what can you do to protect your children who use the Internet? Should you just not let them near a computer until they reach a certain age? While life may not hold the promises we would like, there are a lot of things you can do to protect your children. The dangers they need to be protected from can include pornography, sites that children may go to by accident, or out of curiosity; and sexual predators.

There are a lot of online tools which can provide valuable tools in protecting your children from both online pornography and sexual predators while they are using the Internet. There are blocking and filtering technologies designed to protect your children. There are also websites that counsel parents on how to supervise how your children while using the Internet. There are things you can teach your child to make him safer while he is on the Internet.

The makers of various types of blocking and filtering technologies claim their products protect users, including children, from harmful sites, spyware, privacy predators, and phishing. Some kinds of software are designed to protect Internet users, including children, while they are chatting or sending instant messages online. Some of the blocking and filtering technologies are even designed to protect from viruses.

One such website which offers such software is www.cyberpatrol.com. The company says its software can be used to restrict the amount of time a child spends on the Internet, the sites he visits, and to protect him or her from predators. A free trial is available, and the software costs $39.95.

Another company offers similar software at www.cybersitter.com. The company's software allows you to monitor you child's Internet activity, including chat sessions, IM's, e-mail, and website visits. You can even see everything your children typed while online. The software can also block access to millions of objectionable sites and receive detailed logs of Internet use. The software is also $39.95 and can be installed online in a minute.

Another company is www.netnanny.com. It offers to help protect children from online porn, Internet predators, and to protect from viruses for $39.99 a year.

And lastly is Safe Eyes at www.internetsafety.com. This one also has the features the others have, but cost a little more at $49.95 a year. I personally use this one and it works well.

Experts say that while such blocking and filtering technology can be useful in protecting children from online pornography and sexual predators, the buyer is never in total control of what can and cannot be viewed. A buyer may even have limited knowledge of what information is available. Experts have also said that such technology often blocks educational material and may even block up to 90 % of decent Internet websites.

Another website, www.getnetwise.com, teaches parents about the risks kids face online, provides links to law enforcement agencies you might want to contact if there is a problem, gives safety tips for children using the Internet at different ages, links to Internet safety products, and lists family websites. It also tells how to use the privacy settings of popular social network sites, how to activate safety features in search engines, how to disable spyware, and gives other important information.

There are certain things you should tell your child never to do when he is using the Internet, such as give his age, name, or information about where he lives. He should not give out any information, even the city he lives in. He should know not only not to give out such information, but also not to lie about it. He should not tell his gender to anyone online.

Don't ever let your child use a webcam when he is online. A potential predator could learn about your child's age and gender. A potential thief could learn about things you own. A potential predator could also expose himself to your son or daughter.

There are many sexual predators out there, and there are many pornographic websites your child could visit unintentionally or out of curiosity, but there are a lot of things you can do to protect them.
About the Author
-Gregg Brown

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