Talking to Your Children About Online Predators


in Parenting Teens

Children are online for several hours a week. They play games, do homework, find out news or the latest gossip, and keep in contact with friends. Sometimes children meet new people online while playing games or in a chat room. Children tend to feel that they are safe when they are online. They feel that they are protected in their home and they can turn off the computer whenever they don’t want to talk to people anymore. But children aren’t as safe online as they think they are. Parents need to talk to children about online predators so that children will be safe online.

Who are online predators

Parents need to tell children about online predators. Children need to know that there are people online who pretend to be people they are not. There may be adults that lie and pretend that they are the child’s age. They will lie and try to get personal information from the child. Online predators are bad and want to hurt or assault the child in some way. Parents should make sure that they tailor their discussion about online predators to the age of their child. By explaining who online predators are, children may decide on their own to be more careful about who they talk to or give information to online.

Monitor your child's time and activity online.Monitor your child’s time and activity online.

Giving out personal information

Children tend to be very trusting online. They meet someone when they are playing a game, or in a chat room and become friends with that person. Over a short amount of time, they feel like they really know them. Since they trust this person, they feel very comfortable giving out personal information.

Parents need to talk to their children about giving out their personal information online. To begin that conversation, parents should explain to their children what counts as personal information. Some children might think that only important numbers such as their Social Security number, address, account numbers, or phone number really count as personal information. But it is important for parents to add to that list. A child’s full name, school, city or town, state, family, pictures of the child, their passwords, their birthday, their age, their gender, etc, all count as personal information that should not necessarily be given out online.

Explaining what online predators could do with personal information

Parents need to explain to their children what online predators could do with the personal information they have given them. If a child were to tell someone the town where they live and they also have a picture, an online predator can easily find the child even if they do not have the exact address. Or maybe the child just gave the name of their school, but also gave the person their full name; the online predator can also use these few pieces of information to find the child.

There are several different scenarios that despite what may seem like a lack of information, a child can be found by a predator. Parents should tell children that it may seem like they can trust their new friend, but giving out even a little personal information can be very dangerous.

Set online rules for children

Parents need to set rules that children should follow while they are online. These rules are not put in place to stop children from having fun on the Internet, but to keep them safe. Parents can even have children help with the rules so they feel that they have a say in their online time. Ultimately, however, the adults set the rules that the children should follow while they are online. Some of the rules for the children while they are online could be that parents know the user names and passwords just in case something were to ever happen or that the children talk about what they did on the Internet when they are finished.

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