Internet Safety 101

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STATISTICS

  • An estimated 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given time.
  • 72% of parents think their teen uses internet safely.
  • One out of five 10 – 17 year olds have received unwanted sexual solicitations online and approximately 89% of sexual solicitations were made in a chat room or through instant messaging.
  • 24% of teens claim that their parents are never around when they are online. 6% of parents said they were never around when their teen was online.
  • A survey of 600 households conducted by the national center for missing and exploited children found that 20% of parents did not have any of their teen’s internet passwords, instant messaging nicknames or email addresses.
  • 27% of teens reported that they have talked about sex online with someone they have never met in person.
  • 30% of online teens have talked about meeting someone they have only met through the internet.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE STRANGER TO YOUR TEEN IN TODAY’S CULTURE?

Adapted definition of a stranger: how do you define stranger to
your teen in today’s culture? teens need to understand exactly
what is meant by the word “stranger.” teens were generally taught
that they should not talk to strangers when they are out in public, but “talking” to someone on the internet feels different because they cannot see the stranger’s face, which can make the setting usually feel like a safe place. a comfortable home setting for online chatting and instant messaging can affect a teen’s comfort level.

Adults may forget that teens do not have the same life experiences
that adults have about strangers. They may not instinctively react when someone attempts to contact them online. Teens should understand that it is generally not safe to talk to anyone online unless they have been introduced to that person by a trusted adult.

CHAT ROOMS

The single most unsafe place for teens online is chat rooms. The FBI asserts that there is a 100% chance that teens will encounter a sexual predator in one of the 40,000+ chat rooms that criminals visit.

INSTANT MESSAGING/PRIVATE CHAT ROOMS: A teen who enters a public chat room will receive an invitation to join a private chat (instant messaging discussion) with a stranger. Teens should always decline such invitations; they are extremely dangerous. Aside from obvious dangers the open invitation establishes a connection that makes the teen traceable to savvy users with high levels of access.

ONLINE LANGUAGE: Teens have developed an online language (loaded with acronyms) to communicate with each other. Many adults do not understand internet vocabulary and do not know what their teen is saying online. The bond is created between those who share a specialized language may create a level of familiarity that breaks down the natural barriers that are in place regarding strangers.

Know the language your child is speaking online.

ONLINE CHAT DECODER WEBSITE:

www.teechatdecoder.com

ONLINE GAMES

many online games have a chatting component that can lead teens
into “conversations” with strangers who may use the familiarity of the game to begin a relationship. Teens need to understand that a game partner is still a “stranger.”

WEBSITE FOR PARENTS SAFETY GUIDE FOR ONLINE GAMES:

www.esrb.org

INTERNET FILTERS AND PARENTAL CONTROLS

Internet filters block websites with inappropriate content from your computer. They limit content through key words and graphic analysis and allow for multiple-user settings that provide more restricted access. Internet filters can disable or put time limits and time of day restrictions on chat rooms and instant messaging.

To download filters you can go to:

www.safefamilies.org

SAFETY TIPS

CHECK THE HISTORY ON YOUR COMPUTER

The history provides a list of the websites that have been viewed from your computer. Review your computer’s history to stay informed of the places that were visited online. (If the history is consistently empty, it is possible that either your teen is deliberately erasing the history to keep you from finding out where they go online, or perhaps your computer is set up to automatically delete the history each time you exit out of the Internet. You should disable the auto-delete feature).

To check your computer’s history, follow these steps:

  • Find the long narrow box (called a Navigation Bar) at the top of the screen where web addresses can be entered.
  • To the right of this box, is a little drop down menu with an arrow. By clicking on the arrow, you can see a list of the different websites that have been viewed from your computer.

Get online with your teen to see what sites they are visiting and who they are talking to. Book mark their favorite sites for easy access.

Have the computer in a common room, not in a private individual bedroom where you cannot watch or monitor your teen.

Set guidelines, time limits, and rules your teen is to follow.

Report anything suspicious to the police, website, or call the national center for missing and exploited children at 1-800-843-5678.

Question anything you do not know or do not understand. know your teen’s IM, email, and network site passwords.

Tell your teen it is not them that you do not trust, it’s others online that you are questioning. Remind them they need to be safe
and smart.

Check out what they post. Photos, videos, and other personal

Documents can put information out there about them; it can be more information than you are willing for others to have.

Tell them not to have their passwords “remembered” on someone else’s computer. Invest special software to tract them online. You can find this software at www.safefamilies.org

Tell your teen how important it is to NEVER meet someone IRL (in real life).