How to Keep Your Internet Child-safe:
Guarding Against Pornography

The internet revolution has brought information to the masses. It is a wonderful tool to stay in contact with friends and family, shop for anything you could ever imagine, find up-to-the-minute news from around the world and of course acquire any information from telephone numbers and TV listings to a detailed description of the affects of ocean currents on weather patterns and instructions on how to fix the broken mirror on your Ford Explorer.

Unfortunately with all of the good that the internet brings us also comes a lot of bad. Not only do you have to worry about viruses, spam, hackers, and spyware, but you have to worry about the innocence of your children. Things that you would never dream of bringing into your home can now find their way in through the internet. Not only do you need to protect your children from pornography but now you need to protect them from online predators.

Here are some steps that you can take to help protect your children:

  1. Adult supervision
    • No program, filter, or password lock can protect your children like someone looking over their shoulder. Remember the internet is a privilege for your children and not a right.
    • If you have any kids that ever use your computer you should always keep the computer out in the open. The computer should never be kept in a corner, down in the basement or in a closed dark room. Yes it may not match your decor, you may think it is an eyesore, but aren't your kids worth it? Most parents have no idea of the unspeakable depravity that can be found on the internet, therefore they don't see the need for supervision. Even if it is an inconvenience, your kids need the accountability.
    • Chat sites and messenger services may seem harmless enough but that is the new playground for child predators! Consider banning these things from your house altogether. Remember there is no way to know for sure who they are talking to, even if it is a kids chat room.
    • If banning chat rooms and messenger services seems too harsh at least keep a close eye on it, ask who they are talking to, are these friends that they already know from school or are these strangers they met on the internet? Learn the common code words that they use, "brb"- "be right back", "lol" - "laugh out loud", "pos" - "parent over shoulder!!"
  2. Passwords are there for a reason.
    • Don't give your kids the password to get on the internet and take the check out of the box that says "Remember Password". Yes it is a pain to have to retype it every time, but this way your kids have to ask you to get on and you have to be there to type it in for them. Of course keep in mind they can be very smart and figure it out so consider changing the password every month or so. You can call Omega Internet anytime to do this. It only takes a minute and we are happy to oblige.
  3. Don't fall into the trap of thinking your kids would never do any of this.
    • The unfortunate truth is that your kids don't have to go looking for these things, it can come looking for them. There are sick people that find pleasure in tricking kids into finding this trash, so don't assume that your children won't look for this, they can stumble across it on accident!

The internet is an invaluable tool for research, learning, communication, and commerce that is nearly impossible to go without in today's world. But like any tool, if misused people can get hurt. So exercise these safety precautions listed above and you can protect your family from the pitfalls of working on the Internet.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® also has very good information for parents and children.

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