No one can ignore the explosion of technology that confronts us on a regular basis. It seems like almost everyone is online; in the grocery store, at work, in houses of worship, at ballgames. No doubt, many parents reading this article have taken a picture on their phone of what they are eating and where they are, and then post it on a social networking site. Today’s children (your children) are watching all of this and they are called “digital natives”. That means they were born in the age of technology and are very comfortable with it. That can be a good thing; especially if you need help downloading an app. But it can also be concerning. Some children are too comfortable with technology, and they are too young and innocent to realize that there are immoral and unscrupulous people in this world who also have access to technology. These children need to be protected and educated, even if they think they already “know it all.” The information superhighway can be more dangerous than a four lane freeway; yet no license is required to ride that cyber highway.So here are a few facts:· 20% of respondents in a recent National Crime Prevention Council survey indicate that they were “tricked” into revealing personal information online by someone posing to be someone else.· 17% of those targeted were victimized by someone lying about them online.· 13% of victims learned that a cyberbully was pretending to be them while communicating with others.So what should parents do to keep their children out of cyber harm’s way?1. Monitor their internet usage. (Children and teens do NOT need to be behind closed doors surfing the net for hours upon hours).2. Consider purchasing filtering services and software. Several commercial companies offer software that blocks suspicious, inappropriate and/or pornographic websites.3. Don’t minimize the issue by saying, “There have always been bullies.” While that is true; in days gone by, bullied children could escape the bully when they went home. Home offered a temporary sanctuary from harassment. Cyber bullying, cyber stalking, etc. make even being at home of little comfort since so many children get online as soon as they get home from school.4. Don’t allow your children to respond to vicious emails, texts, chats.
5. Learn the blocking features of various gaming systems, programs and apps.
Last Modified on January 31, 2014