Now more than ever it is crucial to protect children from online predators. With more individuals working from home and children home from school, online predators are sitting, waiting for children to log on. It was found that 1 in 10 kids under the age of 10, have been exposed to online pornography. With simple tips, we can protect children.
One of the first steps to staying safe on the Internet is talking to children about their online activity. These activities include not sharing private information (ex: name, address, etc.) online with others or being in private chat rooms. Predators can pose as other people, and sometimes this includes even posing as other children. As a parent or caregiver, one can learn about the sites or video games a child is visiting or playing. While not a cure-all, have the computer or the gaming console in the family room or another common area of the house. It could lessen the threat of becoming prey to an online predator. It was found that more than three-quarters of the unwanted exposures happened at home with smaller occurrences happening at schools, a friend’s home, or other places including libraries. Even though parents cannot shield their children from everything online, it is still important to take precautions. This could be implementing a firewall or more extensive internet security at home.
Right now, children are most likely spending more time online playing video games or using social media. It is important to limit that time for them. Some benefits from limited screen time can include staying on a healthy sleep schedule, staying active, being attentive, and lessening the risks of being approached by an online predator. With school being primarily online now, it is important that children complete their homework or task but take a break after. Perhaps the child could play outside or have play time with kinetic sand or other engaging toys. The child could have some “educational” internet time like virtually touring art museums or watching science experiments, and then have some “social” internet time like video games or social media (depending on age). It is important to discuss these with your child and ensure they understand your expectations.
Staying safe in the digital age can lessen the threats of a child being victimized. More than ever, parents need to stay vigilant with regard to what their children are doing online. For more information on how to protect your child online, please look for additional resources on our website, and please visit our Facebook page.
–Prevent Child Abuse Indiana Team
Internet Statistics. (2020, March 30). Guard Child. Retrieved from https://www.guardchild.com/statistics/
The Detrimental Effects of Pornography on Young Children. (2017, December 19). Net Nanny. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.netnanny.com/blog/the-detrimental-effects-of-pornography-on-small-children/
Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. 2006. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Crimes Against
Children Research Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. December 4, 2006. http://www.unh. edu/ccrc/pdf/CV138.pdf).