10 Signs from InternetSafety.com that your child may be breaking online rules:
1) You or your child receives unusual amounts of unsolicited e-mail or pop-ups. This can be a sign that your child has released personal information online.
There are many enticing contests and sweepstakes, offering free MP3 players or gaming consoles, for instance, as a means of getting your child's personal information. Alert your children to the possible schemes and remind them never to give out personal information online.
2) Your child tries to block the computer screen or quickly closes the window when you enter the room. Children's reflexes can be quick when they're breaking the rules. You should investigate further.
3) Your child spends an unusual amount of time online, especially in the evenings. Sometimes children, especially if they're home alone for extended periods, can become drawn into the social life that chat rooms and instant messaging offer. Know whom they're talking to and what chat rooms they're visiting. Predators can be online at any hour, but they are particularly active in the evenings.
4) Your child changes her password and/or will not share it with you. He or she could be hiding something.
5) Your child uses an online account other than your family's account. Public computers in libraries or coffeehouses offer unlimited access that your child may not have at home.
6) Your child withdraws from family or friends. Sexual predators pull children closer to them by pushing them away from family and friends. Children also tend to become withdrawn after being sexually victimized either physically or verbally.
7) You discover photos of strangers on your child's computer. Do random searches of your child's computer for files with photo file extensions such as jpg, tiff, gif or bmp.
8) Your child receives phone calls from strangers. Many predators prefer phone conversations. A predator may ask the child to call collect, and when the child calls, the predator records the phone number through caller ID. A quick phone number search using any basic search engine could also reveal your child's home address.
9) Your child receives mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don't know. Predators may try to send photos or gifts through the mail. Gifts are frequently a form of seduction used by sexual predators. If any of this activity occurs, take action immediately.
10) You discover inappropriate images or files on your child's computer. This warning sign also requires immediate action. Find out the origin of the file. If it's an image your child has voluntarily downloaded from a commercial entity, it's time to install or improve your filtering software, as well as restrict your child's Internet usage. If an individual sent the file, contact law enforcement.
Don’t give an Intruder a Key to your Home! Sexual Predator Internet Safety:
You would not let your children open the door to a stranger, so don’t let them spend long hours online which opens the door to online strangers.
First, a parent needs to educate themself and become comfortable with the Internet. Then, communicate the dangers and risks of being online with your children. Supervise your children on the Internet just as you would monitor what movies and television shows they watch and the places they go with their friends. Use products that can assist you in tracking your children’s use of the Internet and block objectionable material from reaching your househould. Just remember, no product can fulfill all your needs and there is no substitute for your involvement! Pay attention to your children because, if you don’t, some one else will.