- Talk to your children about their use of computers and discuss the dangers.
- Take a computer course yourself.
- Know the capabilities of your computer ... a modem can connect your children to any kind of information and all types of people.
- Internet Service Providers can provide a filtered or unfiltered feed. This filtered feed will not allow access to the majority of sex-related newsgroups. However, it is not foolproof.
- Learn how to access the Internet Service Provider Home Page to determine the number of computer hours used per month on your account. Accounts can be set up so each individual family member has their own access codes and separate records.
- There are software packages available at computer software stores that can block access to sites.
- Computers can be addicting. Limit time allotted on a computer. Watch to see if a child is withdrawing from friends and family.
- Do not allow a computer to be placed in a bedroom or other isolated room, so activities can be easily monitored.
- Advise your child never to give out their full name, address, age, phone numbers, school name, financial information or any other personal information.
- Advise them never to meet with persons they meet through the internet.
- Watch for the storing of computer files ending with letters: GIF, JPG, AVI, BMP, TIF, PCX, DL, GL as these contain photographic or movie images which could contain pornography.
Dangers of Chat Lines
- A chat line is the equivalent of a telephone conversation with complete anonymity.
- Always closely monitor the contacts children make during on-line chats.
- Ensure no personal information, such as full name, age, sex, address, phone number, or schools are given out to any person they meet during an on-line chat.
- It is a known fact that pedophiles are using the Internet to entice children ... so far there have been no documented incidents in Manitoba ...
- Pedophiles depict themselves as young children and can even send a "photo" of themselves in an effort to gain a child's confidence.
- It is also being used by con artists to solicit credit card information from adults and children.
- If your child ever makes an agreement to meet with a person they meet on-line, ensure that you attend with them and meet in a public place ... but attempt to prevent this from occurring.
- If your child receives unsolicited e-mail (the equivalent of junk mail), have them disregard it. This can be sent to your computer without you requesting it and could be an attempt by a pedophile to engage your child in a conversation ...
- Remember pedophiles are now conversing with other pedophiles via the Internet. They are discussing ways to use the Internet for illicit purposes.
- Numerous software packages are available through computer retailers that will customize the computer for your children. It allows for an in-house setting according to the family moral standard.
- The industry standard is gauged by what is appropriate for a typical twelve year old using the Internet while unaccompanied by an adult or guardian.
- This software can provide a master list of inappropriate sites that can be downloaded from their Internet site. You can modify it in accordance with your standards.
- This software allows for the monitoring of sites, newsgroups, chat lines, time spent on the computer by day or cumulatively, as well as e-mail.
- These systems operate by screening out user defined sites, words, phrases and other content that do not meet your particular values.
- Use the system to prevent personal information from being sent from your PC, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers and credit card numbers. This may be entered onto your screening list and can not be sent from your PC.
- System can be set up to monitor activities without the knowledge of the child. In other words, activities can be monitored and reviewed to determine if the child is using the computer in a manner which contravenes your family moral standard.
- Each user within the family can be required to log on with their own password which places an onus on the individual to explain their computer usage.
- Obviously there are many benefits to purchasing one of these software programs, but they are, by no means, infallible.
Above all else, parental supervision is the key to Internet Safety.