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issue isn’t trust. The issue is curiosity, childhood curiosity. It is
the kind of curiosity that can either lead to good things… or danger.
children were ages 11, 12 and 13. They came from respected families. They
had never been in trouble before. They are good students. They were caught
in sex acts between themselves uncharacteristic of children their ages.
They learned their tricks from the Internet. They had seen thousands of
perverse and sexually graphic images and their sheer numbers led the
children to believe this was normal. They had to try it.
lives have changed. With the Internet we have invited the world into our
homes: the good, the bad and the ugly. In less than seconds we can be
transported around the world to see and hear things otherwise unavailable.
There are remarkable advantages. We can communicate with friends and loved
ones easily. We have access to information and education. The downside is
that with any wrong turn we can be exposed to dangerous information,
ideas, images, behaviour and can even be lured to our death.
warning signs could signal a problem for your child and the Internet:
Spending increased time on-line to the exclusion of other friends
and prior preferred activities.
Surfing the Internet with the door closed and when you approach,
you hear a flurry of mouse-clicks as your child quickly deletes
information or changes web pages.
An increase in sexualized behaviour or talk of adult on-line
friends, particularly if this leads to meeting unknown persons.
of the Internet as a big lake. There are shallow spots and deep spots. You
would never throw your child into the lake without supervision, without
learning to swim or without learning of the dangerous areas. You would
never let your children swim in the dark. Like learning to swim, these
strategies may protect your child from harm on the Internet:
Purchase and install “blocking software”. Such software
prevents targeted web sites from appearing on your computer. This tends to
work better for younger children who are more apt to stumble on a
pornographic web site than search for them directly. Ask at your local
computer store for a recommendation on which software to use.
Keep your computer in a public area in your house such as the
kitchen, family room or hallway. Children will be embarrassed if sexual
content appears and will not want to be caught in open territory with it
on the screen. Porn needs secrecy to survive. No secrecy, no porn.
If the computer is to remain in your child’s room, the door must
be open when the Internet is in use.
Check the Temporary Internet Files and History Folder on the
computer. The rule is, no deleting these files. Parents are advised to
view these files periodically. These files will show you exactly what has
been viewed and which web sites were accessed. They even will show date
and time. No files, no computer.
safety on the Internet is not a matter of trusting your child. It is a
matter of understanding childhood curiosity and the trouble that it can
cause. It is always up to the parents to protect children from harm and
learn the strategies to do so. Our mission is to grow them up safely. This
includes the Internet.
See www.bewebaware.ca for more Internet Safety tips!
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
Are you the parent of new teen driver? Check out this teen safe driving program: www.ipromiseprogram.com
20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 6R5 Tel: (905) 628-4847 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org