Tag Archives: Children

Announcement: Internet Safety is Not About Technology

Internet safety and security is an extremely important issue that should be addressed by every parent, and is rapidly becoming one of the toughest issues facing parents today. It is an important worldwide concern for children, teenagers, and adults. Governments are getting involved. (in my opinion that is not a good thing, but that is a different topic)

Internet safety is not about technology, it is about the safe and legal use of the internet. It’s about the people you meet, the places you go, and the things you see on the internet. It is important for kids to know who is out there on the internet, where they like to hide, and what they want from you. Many young people have experienced grooming by predator pedophiles, solicitation of personal information, cyber bullying by peers, or have been shocked by filthy online content that just a few years ago couldn’t be found in the sleaziest adult magazines.

Internet Filtering is like a Shark Cage

Internet safety is not a luxury! You wouldn’t let a child surf in shark infested waters and you shouldn’t let them surf the internet without a “Shark Cage”.

What kind of Shark Cages are available online? Some look to accountability software for the solution, also called Internet monitoring, and there certainly is a place and time for that, but that kind of solution is more like watching your child get eaten by a shark on the 10 o’clock news before trying to do something about it.

Internet filtering is a good solution, definitely more like a shark cage; but what is to stop your child from finding a way out of the cage?

The combination of both Internet filtering and Internet monitoring is the best solution. By preventing accidental viewing of filth, often caused by simple misspelling, and the intentional attempts to bypass the filter through monitoring, you can effectively illuminate most of the dangers of the internet. Any further dangers can and should be eliminated through open discussion and communication about what information is permissible to give out and what isn’t. The fact that the computer is being monitored should be fully disclosed to all users.  The benefit of monitoring is to improve behavior not catch something after the fact. Knowing that someone is looking over your shoulder is a great help when it comes to temptation to do something that is not within the guide lines established for your safety. This will improve both Internet Safety and Security.

Check out a product that can provide both monitoring and filtering at Clean Internet.

Technorati Tags: Bypass, Children, computer, danger, Filtering, help, Internet, Internet Filter, news, Online, parents, pedophiles, Safety

5 Ways to Protect your Facebook Account

1. Do not put your full birth date in your profile. Choose “show only month and day in my profile.”
2. Edit privacy settings so that not just anyone can access your information. You can choose to allow “friends only” or “friends of friends” to be able to view you on FB.
3. Be safe with photos. Avoid tagging children’s photos. Do not put time and date with photos. Predators use any information you give them to find or lure children.
4. You can stop your FB profile from being indexed in search engines. To do this go to Account >Privacy Settings >Search > “Public Search results” > Remove mark on box. This will protect you from strangers who want to access your profile and information.
5. Change your password if it is weak. Don’t use common words found in the dictionary. Combine numbers and letters for a good password. Try and remember to change your password every few months.

Technorati Tags: Children, Facebook, predators, privacy, security

INTERNET PREDATORS

The show features an interview with Marsali Hancock, the President of the Internet Keepsafe Coalition on the subject of minors and Internet safety. The Internet Keepsafe Coalition works in partnership with the US Department of Justice/Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention to create the Project Safe Childhood initiative. The initiative involves the Department of Justice and an array of agencies to protect the Internet experience of children.

via INTERNET PREDATORS–DOJ’S PROJECT SAFE CHILD INITIATIVE | DC Public Safety Audio.

Technorati Tags: Children, Internet, predators, prevention, PSA, Safety

How Can Parents Keep Their Children Safe on the Internet?

The prevailing question for the 79% of American homes with internet access is – how can parents keep their children safe on the internet? And it’s no wonder why. More and more kids use the internet these days, for homework help, to chat with friends, and play games. Unfortunately, all kinds of predators have caught on to this trend, and are using the internet to prey on children and teens – sexually, emotionally, and financially.

Children, and most teenagers, simply don’t realize the very real danger that can often be associated with their online activities, especially in chat rooms or message boards. However, there are several ways to protect your kids online, and it all starts with education. Find out what is out there, and then follow these simple guidelines to help keep them safe.

1. Install a really good internet filter, one like Clean Internet, that has a high level of consistency in blocking bad content and allowing good content, and cannot by bypassed or uninstalled by the end user, and make sure you use it to its fullest capacity. Get activity reports, and keep tabs on what sites your kids are visiting – or trying to visit.
2. Place the computer in a family area of your home, where you can easily monitor internet activity. Know what your kids are doing while they are online, and who they may be interacting with.
3. Set rules, especially with teenagers, about what your kids can and cannot do online. Chat rooms, message boards, and instant messengers are the most common means that predators use to lure children or teens into sharing personal information, or into meeting them in person.
4. Educate your children about internet safety. Talk with them about not sharing their full name, phone number, address, or other personal family information, unless they have explicit permission from you. Represent to them, in age appropriate ways, the danger of trusting people online. Younger children especially, do not understand that sometimes people online are not really who they say they are.
5. Make sure that other places where your children might be able to access the internet are safe. Most libraries and schools have internet filters in place, but always ask before allowing your children to use these computers. If internet content blockers aren’t already being used, talk with the school administrators or library directors about getting them.

Using all of these methods is how parents can keep their children safe online, but it is important to remember that nothing is foolproof, and sometimes your kids may access content or have an experience online that is inappropriate or uncomfortable for them. Maintaining an open atmosphere so your kids know they can come to you and talk about these things without being shamed or punished, can often be the most effective internet safety method you employ.

Technorati Tags: Children, Internet Filter, Safety

The Benefits of a Child Internet Filter

More children than ever before are “plugged in” to the internet, and with all the benefits that this offers, there are dangers as well. After all, nearly half of all kindergarteners and first-graders use the internet for homework projects, to play games, and to communicate with relatives or friends that live far away. And while you may monitor your child’s internet use, without an effective child internet filter, they can still be exposed to violent, pornographic, or other objectionable content.

For older children, there are even greater risks to using the internet. Older children, particularly middle schoolers and high-schoolers, are more likely to use the internet to chat with friends (or strangers), have online profiles that include photos or personally identifying information, or to engage in imprudent, questionable, or illegal activities. In addition, older children are more likely to downplay or underestimate the risks to their safety, their emotional or mental well-being, and even to their futures, from their online activities.

An effective child internet filter should block access to unwanted content while allowing access to appropriate content, and it does this in a variety of ways. The most common method is keyword filtering. Search engines and other internet entities use keywords to identify and classify websites, but this is not foolproof. Thus, your filter should use a filtering algorithm that will utilize several filtering methods. Clean Internet, a reputable Christian internet filtering company, offers keyword filtering, URL filtering, dynamic filtering, and foreign language filtering.

Clean Internet also works on all internet protocols, an important factor in any internet filter. This means that you can monitor or block your child’s access to email, instant messengers, chat rooms, popup windows, and peer-to-peer file sharing programs. Popups and file sharing programs are the two primary ways in which children are exposed to unwanted content. Additionally, email, instant messengers, and chat rooms are the usual mediums that predators use when trying to communicate with children. If this communication is unmonitored, it only increases the risk of children being sexually, emotionally, or otherwise victimized – both by strangers and people they know in real life.

Of course, nothing is perfect, and internet filters are no exception. However, they are a very helpful tool for parents trying to monitor and protect their children online. One of the best child internet filters is Clean Internet, which was mentioned above, mostly because of the filtering features they offer, but also because it is one of the few systems that will not slow down your computer, and that is compatible with practically any system or internet connection. Clean Internet is also the only filter this author has come across that cannot be uninstalled or bypassed by the end user – a really great feature for parents who may not be as tech savvy as their kids. In short, Clean Internet is a solid choice, but particularly for those who are looking for a filter to protect their families.

Technorati Tags: child internet, Children, christian internet filtering, Internet Filter, Internet Filters, Safety

Protecting Your Kids is Not Just About Technology

Ask the majority of children from the age of 4 what the internet is and they will not only tell you, but they will demonstrate to you on how to use it. Because of this, the issue of Internet safety and security is on the forefront of parents minds.

The internet is a wonderful place, yet it can also be a dangerous place. Internet safety is a concern that every parent should be aware of and be thinking of some form of internet protection implemented. This will be one of the most important decisions made in their own house holds.

Internet safety is for all ages. Whether you are a child just learning to move a mouse and type on a keyboard, a teenager who knows there way around the internet, or the adult that is responsible for all the minds in their homes.

Safety on the internet is extremely important. It is all about the things you can see, the people you can meet, yet not know who they really might be. The internet can take you places of wonder, yet it is of utmost importance that children are informed and guided in the dangers that they may face while surfing the web.

There has been many a young person who has been violated while they were innocently roaming the internet. There are an increasing number of predators that will gain access to your computer to steal personal information, bully you and introduce you to filth that ought not to be seen.

Would you allow your child to surf in waters that are known to be shark filled? I dare to say you would not. Then why allow a child to surf the internet without protection from the sharks online that seek to destroy their young minds?

What do you do? You invest in a “shark cage”. Having your own shark cage is not a luxury, but a necessity in today’s world. There are different types of “shark cages” available online. Some are a type of monitoring system. Is this right for you? This type of software is considered to be the “Oops! Too late now.” It is comparable to turning on the 6:00 news and hearing about your child getting mauled by a shark and you would be too late to do anything about it.

A good internet filter is a better solution. This would be more like a shark cage that can withstand the likes of a great white shark. In this computer day and age, children are smart. The shark cannot get in, but what will stop the child from getting out?

The use of an internet filter coupled with a monitoring system is the most effective way to control your internet usage. This type of system will stop accidental misspellings that will take you to a dangerous site and the intentional attempts to get around the filter. You can avoid most of the dangers of the internet with a product like this.

There should also be communication with all who use the internet, the fact that the computer is being filtered and monitored should be known to all who use it. It is a great help knowing you are being watched. This will guide and direct you in not trying to get by with something accidentally or intentionally. This is a way to instill good behavior and not catch someone after the fact. The use of a good filter will aid in the turning away from temptation, and increase the safety guidelines set out by you. Internet safety and security is a growing concern for all that use the internet.

Technorati Tags: Children, danger, Internet Filter, parents, predators, protection, Safety

Protect kids online with these tips

Protect kids online with these tips

These ideas can help parents deal with cyber-bullying, predators and porn.

By Melissa Healy

January 26, 2009

Last week, the Supreme Court quietly let die a federal law dubbed the Child Online Protection Act, which made it a crime in the United States to post sexually explicit material on the Web for commercial gain without making provisions to block kids from gaining access.

A lower court in Philadelphia had struck down the law, arguing that parents could already shield their children from such material by installing Internet filters. Bush administration lawyers had appealed, countering that less than half of parents use such filters, leaving children in need of the laws protection. It was an argument the justices declined to take up, dismissing the case.

The legal wrangling underscored a long-standing truth about kids and the Internet: No matter how ill-equipped they may be, parents are their childrens last line of defense against smut, cruelty, adult predators and the poor judgment of youth online.

Installing Internet filters can be an effective block against pornographic images. But for many parents, they are daunting technology that can limit adults — and kids — legitimate searches as well, including those for information on sexual health.

They also are a poor defense against cyber-bullying and sexual solicitation on social networking sites.

Smart moves

Following are tips from the National Assn. of School Psychologists on protecting your kids online, even if your own online skills lag behind theirs.

Keep computers in easily viewable places, such as the family room or kitchen.

Talk regularly with your children about the online activities in which they are involved and Internet etiquette in general. Children should know the rule that many adults have learned from painful experience: Do not say online what you would not say in person.

Encourage children to be self-protective. Remind them that anything they say on the Internet or in phone text messages can be shared with others and misused. Ask them to consider if they want what they are saying and doing broadly disseminated. If not, they probably should not say or post it.

Be specific about the risks of cyber-bullying and their need to tell you if something that bothers them occurs.

Respect for adolescents privacy is important. But tell children that you may review their online communications if you have reason for concern.

Set clear expectations for responsible online behavior and phone use and consequences for violating those expectations.

Consider establishing a parent-child Internet use contract.

Consider installing parental-control filtering software or tracking programs but do not rely solely on these tools.

Be aware of warning signs that might indicate your son or daughter is being bullied, such as reluctance to use the computer, a change in the childs behavior and mood, or reluctance to go to school.

Document the bullying.

Be equally alert to the possibility that your child could be bullying others online, even if unintentionally.

Understand current local laws and your school policies. Work with your school to develop policies if they dont exist.

If you have concerns, contact your childs school to enlist the help of the school psychologist, school counselor, principal or resource officer.

File a complaint with the website, Internet service provider or cellphone company if you learn of problematic behavior.

Contact police if the cyber-bullying includes threats.

via Protect kids online with these tips – Los Angeles Times.

Technorati Tags: Children, computer, Filtering, health, help, Internet, Internet Filter, Internet Filters, network, Online, parents, predators, privacy, protection, service, web

Warning Signs: Is Your Child Having Cyber Issues?

After Mary Clark watched a recent episode of the Dr. Phil show about teens using the Internet to bully or threaten other kids, the Fairfax, Va., mother sat down with her 14-year-old daughter, Katie, for a heart-to-heart. They discussed the dangers that lurk online. Her daughter even told her about being invited to join a social networking group that was set up to ostracize a more awkward, less popular student — something Katie had refused to do.

“Kids always get picked on,” Clark says. “This is just a more blatant way to do it — and it’s a worse way to do it because everyone else knows.”

So-called cyber bullying has become the new version of beating someone up at the bus stop, but online, it’s more under the radar. The Internet is now akin to a bathroom wall, where teens can write graffiti about one another — often anonymously. Teens use social networking sites to marshal forces against other students. Though cyber bullying is one hot-button issue kids could face online, there are others. For example, teens break up with each other by changing the relationship status on their personal page, so all their friends can see. Or they discover they weren’t invited to parties when they see a video of the party on the Web featuring friends who made the cut.

Here is how to spot the warning signs that your teen could be dealing with cyber issues and some expert advice on how to open the lines of communication and resolve the issues:

Seeing the Warning Signs

If your kids are suffering from cyber dilemmas, you might notice the same kinds of red flags they exhibit when dealing with offline issues, such as bullying, breakups, rumors or hurt feelings. Except the symptoms may be worse if the drama is playing out online, experts say.

“What’s interesting is that things online can actually have more of a profound impact on them,” says Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and author of Me, MySpace and I: Parenting the Net Generation (Palgrave Macmillan 2007). “Between you and the person on the other end of this is a nice screen. The screen is somewhat protective. If it’s someone you don’t know and they’re bullying you online, they feel free to say anything they want to say. Being behind the screen makes it seem like you can say more because it’s anonymous.”

These are some of the signs that your child may be struggling with cyber issues such as cyber bullying, online harassment, cyber stalking or other Internet nuisances:

  • Changed work habits Did your child’s grades slip this semester? Are they suddenly failing tests? “They may not be as good at doing their homework,” Rosen says. This is a sign that something may be wrong or that something — or someone — may be bothering your child.
  • Losing sleep or sleeping too much “They may be losing sleep or be reluctant to go to school,” says Anne Collier, co-director of ConnectSafely, a web site for parents, teens and educators alike about the impact of social web sites. No one wants to be confronted by their abusers. They may be worried and be unable to sleep or, conversely, they may be sluggish and want to sleep more because of depression. “These are signs of peer-to-peer problems,” Collier says.
  • Increased irritability Does your son fly off the handle more easily? Is your daughter snapping at everyone? “They might be more irritable and decide they’re sick all the time or don’t want to come to dinner,” Rosen says. “These are basically psychological issues they’re dealing with.”
  • Extra insecurity Cyber bullying or harassment can take a toll on a teen’s self-esteem. “They may be feeling and acting very lonely or humiliated or extra insecure,” Collier says. 
  • Spending more time online If you see a rise in the amount of time your teen spends at the computer — and if that increased time is leading to some of the symptoms listed above — then it might be another warning that something is amiss online. Keep track of your teen’s computer time and talk to him if you notice changes. Be careful about withdrawing Internet privileges entirely, Collier says, which could lead to more acting out or a feeling of isolation. Instead, come up with a plan to curtail usage. 

 

Helping Kids Resolve Cyber Issues
When your kids were younger, you talked to them about the dangers of crossing the street. You may have also talked to them about the potential to be bullied at school and to report any problems to an adult. In the same vein, experts say, you should be talking to your children about the risks of the virtual world on the Internet.

“As they’re creating social networks and making friends online, there are things that can happen out there,” says Rosen. “A lot of things happen because this is the Internet. There is this sense of anonymity they can hide behind. Kids aren’t necessarily savvy about that.”

Dealing with cyber issues requires parents to open the lines of communication. Your kids need to feel that they can confide in you. Here are some guidelines on how to open up those channels and help your child resolve online difficulties:

 

  • Make talks a common occurrence Rosen suggests starting weekly 15-minute parent-child conversations that can include talking about their experiences online. “Try to do them in an unassuming way,” he says. “Family dinners are a good time to have these discussions.” 
  • Listen, listen and listen “Parents should talk about one-third of the time and kids should talk about two-thirds of the time,” Rosen says. “You really have to listen to what your kids are saying. They’re really the experts now. Most of us parents haven’t experienced this firsthand.” 
  • Remember it’s not about technology It is not about the computer, Collier says. “Technology is just a tool,” she adds. “If it’s real cyber bullying, it’s about school. The emerging definition of cyber bullying is that it’s linked to their school life.” 
  • Talk to your children about their own online and offline behavior Studies have found that the perpetrators of cyber bullying are most likely someone at your child’s school, Collier says. Talk to your child about what may be going on at school that might have spilled over to the Internet. Work together to understand the situation before deciding on the next course of action, such as contacting another child’s parents or the school. 

 

Overall, if you’re already aware of your child’s cyber dilemma, “that’s half the battle,” Collier says. “Kids so often go into stealth mode.”

And in her case, that’s why Clark used the Dr. Phil program to raise the topic with her daughter to curb trouble before it started. “Fortunately,” Clark says, “I don’t think it’s been a real issue for her so far.”

Copyright (c) 2008 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

 

About The Author: Elizabeth Wasserman is a freelance writer and editor based in Fairfax, Va. She writes for a variety of publications, including Congressional Quarterly and Inc. magazine, and she edits the online publication CIO Strategy Center.

via Corpus Christi, TX | KRISTV.COM |Warning Signs: Is Your Child Having Cyber Issues?.

Technorati Tags: Children, computer, danger, help, Internet, myspace, network, Online, parents, report, secure, web

The Benefits of Internet Filtering

In today’s tech savvy world there are an increasing number of households obtaining Internet access and more than fifty percent of the households have more than one computer with Internet access.

With that said, implementing an Internet flitering tool in your PC has become a necessity in the home environment for child protection.

If you are a parent, you know that inappropriate material and potentially dangerous websites run rampant on the Internet. Just as you would protect your child from dangers on the street, the same rings true for the Internet, so an Internet filter is a must have for protection against offense and inappropriate content.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of Internet filtering and the types of websites that can be blocked by the use of an Internet filter.

  • Pornographic Material: A good Internet filter will block websites that promote pornographic material which will prevent you from worrying about your child accessing objectional subject matter.
  • Violence and Hate Crimes: Internet filtering will block any inapproriate material promotes violence or hate crimes.
  • Instant Messaging: Instant Messaging is a primary tool that online predators use to masquerade as someone else. An Internet filter will block all Instant Messaging chat programs and allows you to select the chat programs when you want to use them.
  • Web-Based Email Sites: A Web-based email site is a site that offers a free email account. Some of these sites include Yahoo, Gmail (Google), and Hotmail and most of these sites have an Instant Messaging tool as well. These sites are frequently used by spammers and online predators. An Internet filtering tool is effective for protection against predators and prevention from being exposed to onjectionable material that often is communicated through spam.
  • Websites That Promote Drug Use: There is a host of sites on the Internet that will explain how to obtain drugs as well as how to use them once they are in your hands. An Internet filter is a useful tool for blocking these types of sites.
  • Websites That Promote Terrorism: There are websites that provide step-by-step instructions on how to make a bomb or perform a cyber-terrorist threat. An Internet filtering tool is beneficial in blocking these objectionable sites.
  • Objectionable Game Websites: Many of the online games that are avilable contain objectionable and violent content and are offered for free. In addition, many of these websites have an online chat feature where predators can hang out and mask themselves as a child. Internet filtering is capable of filtering out these sites.
  • Social Networking Websites: Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are infested with online predators as world news has so clearly pointed out to us. It is possible to block these sites throught the use of an Internet filter.
  • Piece Of Mind: This is the final and most important benefit of using an Internet filter and knowing that everyone in the household is protected from offensive and inappropriate content.

The Internet can be an exciting and useful tool for communications and research, however, there is that one side that forces us all to protect ourselves. There are a host of different types of Internet filtering products on the market you should look for one that has filtering and monitoring built in together like Clean Internet.

Technorati Tags: Children, computer, danger, Filtering, filtering tool, instant, Internet, Internet Filter, myspace, network, news, Online, predators, prevention, protection, web, Websites

Wireless Internet filtering plan spurs debate

M2Z Networks’ proposal to build a free wireless broadband network is not the only controversial part of its business plan. Just as contentious is its intention to filter the content delivered over that network to block material deemed inappropriate for children.

Free-speech advocates on the left and right have expressed alarm at M2Z’s plans to build a family-friendly network that would weed out objectionable sites by blocking particular Internet domain names.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin took up that idea in his proposal to auction off a chunk of spectrum that would be used in part to deliver a basic broadband service over the nation’s airwaves. It would ultimately be up to the FCC to decide exactly how any filtering mandate would work, including whether the filters would be located on the network or on user devices.

Wireless Internet plan spurs debate on filtering | courier-journal | The Courier-Journal.

Technorati Tags: Children, Filtering, Internet, Internet Filter, network, service