We’re vastly approaching a crucial era where everyone, especially our future doctors, lawyers, and CEO’s must become computer literate. Failure to do so could cost them opportunities and diminish their capacity to fulfill their future professional aspirations. Although modern technology, such as the Internet, expands their ability to increase in knowledge, it also intensifies their propensity to become victims of computer—sex crimes. Because of the growing online community of children, the Internet has literally become a haven for predators seeking children for criminal purposes. Nevertheless, you can drastically minimize your children’s potential risks by taking responsibility for their online usage.
The Internet has become a common part of almost every child’s environment. Whether at home, school, or the public library, an excess of 77 million children are online every day (Internet Crimes Against Children, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crimes). Therefore, it’s imperative to educate yourself and your children about the risk factors. Since children are naturally curious, making certain they recognize and understand the potential dangers of the Web dramatically increases their safety (A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety, FBI). You cannot afford to be silent. Talk to your children about the great resource the Internet can be, as well as the dangers they may encounter online. Ensure they’re aware that online sex offenders can be any age or gender, and target boys and girls of all ages.
SafeKids.com recommends establishing a family contract for online safety, which includes a detailed list of pledges children and parents agree to abide by when using the Web. They recommend signing the contract and posting it near the computer.
As parents, be aware of, and recognize the warning signs for your child being at risk online. According to the aforementioned FBI study, your child may be at risk if he or she spends large amounts of time on the Internet, especially at night. If you notice your child becoming withdrawn, turning off the monitor off quickly, or changing the monitor’s screen when you enter the room, it may be time to investigate their online activity. Don’t be afraid to express your suspicions. Review your child’s computer and Web sites visited, making them aware of why you’re doing so.
The best method of protection is prevention. As we aspire to raise a generation of computer—literate scholars, it’s important that we use wisdom to assist children in reaching their intended destination safely.
I love you and encourage you to take this article to heart. Research and educate yourself on the best ways to protect the gifts God has given you—your children. I pray God’s wisdom and peace leads, guides, and directs you in everything you do.
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