Staying Safe: A Series on Internet Safety

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Internet usage is still on the rise, but you don’t need to be a scientist to see that.

More homes are buying computers, smartphones, and tablets. It is becoming more acceptable for children under the age of 13 to own a cell phone “for emergency purposes”. In recent years, the internet has branched out from a basic research hub to the foundation of social networking. Many establishments now advertise “free wi-fi” so the internet can be accessible from just about anywhere.

But is all of that internet access safe? Yes, the internet is a tremendous resource, but is the internet safe for kids?

The short answer is no.

While the internet does provide access to online encyclopedia, dictionaries, and newspapers, it is also the home to cyberbullying, identity theft, and mature content. Without adult supervision, kids and teens can easily stumble upon things they should not see – such as pornography.

I remember being in middle school and having to go online at school for an assignment. (Back in the good old days of dial-up connections.) Our assignment was to visit a governmental website to research how laws were passed. By force of habit, I typed in “.com” at the end of the web address instead of “.gov”. The site was blocked and would not grant me access.

I later found out from a classmate that the “.com” address was an adult website. Thank goodness my school had installed software to prevent us from accessing those websites.

But not every computer in the world has prevention software to keep young eyes away from inappropriate content. Electronic devices do not come with filters pre-installed. It is the consumer’s responsibility to protect themselves…and their family.

Still, even if you protect every single device in your household, your children aren’t necessarily safe. Say your child goes to a friend’s house to play, or to a library to do homework. Can you guarantee that those computers are protected against mature content?

No, you can’t.

According to AVG, 42% of parents believe their kids spend too much time online. 47% are concerned that their kids may view adult content.

But what are parents doing to keep their children safe?

In that same survey, 81% of parents said that they have restrictions on their children’s web usage. While that is certainly a step in the right direction, it does not ensure their children’s safety. They cannot set restrictions on every public computer.

But there is something parents can do – they can educate their children about internet safety.

With more children and teens accessing the internet every year, it’s astounding that our society does not truly teach children about the dangers of the internet. Many crimes now begin online – viewing profile, soliciting private information, arranging meetings, etc. A simple mistake can be deadly.

In this series, we will show you how to keep your children, teens, and yourself safe online. It is every parent’s responsibility to protect their children…and that includes protecting them on the worldwide web.

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“Protecting Your Kids Online.” NetSmartz Workshop (2010): n. pag. Web. 28 Aug. 2015.

Anscombe, Tony. “Do Your Kids Spend Too Much Time Online?” AVG Now. AVG, 11 Feb. 2015. Web. 28 Aug. 2015.

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About the Author

Nikki

Nikki is the Director of Student Services for North Coast Education Services. She coordinates the tutoring for all private students, assists with in-school programs, and is responsible for the NCES blog. Nikki is also the Assistant Camp Director of the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp, a summer program for students with learning disabilities in Kirtland, OH.