The Sexual Predator Threat

6 Online-Safety Strategies

According to a Department of Justice survey, one in five children ages 10 to 17 who use the Internet have been propositioned online. Here's how you can keep your child safe.

  1. Put your computer in a common area of the house where you can monitor the sites your child visits. Know his passwords, screen names, and account information. For young kids, set up a family screen name everyone can use.
  2. Don't let your child get too personal. Explain the dangers of sharing information online, such as his phone number, address, full name, and his school's name. The same goes for photos: Background details could reveal too much information, such as the mall where your child likes to shop.
  3. Install monitoring software on your computer so you can check where your child goes online and whether strangers e-mail him.
  4. Talk about chat rooms. Make sure your child understands that the people he meets there aren't always who they say they are. Monitor his visits carefully.
  5. Know when your child goes online at friends' houses. Are other parents monitoring activity as carefully as you would?
  6. Beware of soliciting. Make sure your child tells you if someone asks him for personal information or wants to meet offline. Report criminal behavior to the site and to the police.

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