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Internet Safety for Kids: Protecting Your Kids from Online Predators The internet exposes your kids to lots of information. This is why it is encouraged that they should start using the internet as early as possible. But it doesn't end here. The internet can also expose your kids to several threats including online predators. Online predators are people who exploit vulnerable internet users particularly kids for sexual and financial purposes. Although they can come from all over the web, they often use chat rooms or instant messaging to lure kids. Since you can't sit with your kids to monitor personally their online activity, you should do certain things that will ensure the safety of your kids and protect them from online predators. Here are those: Teach your kids about the value of privacy. They should know that personal information such as name, address, school, age, birthday, and credit card number should be kept secret especially from strangers they meet online. Talk to your kids about the dangers of engaging in private chats. If they use instant messaging and enter chat rooms, encourage them to not add names of people they don't know. Also encourage them stay on public rooms so that the arbiter or chat administrator can monitor the conversation. Tell your kids to ignore private messages. Tell them not to open emails from unknown senders, download unsolicited attachments, and reply to spam. Discourage them from using websites where they can post their profile that can be viewed publicly. MySpace for one has received great attention from online predators since this site is open and any information posted can be used against the user. Tell them to avoid giving their personal email addresses to strangers. Also, tell your kids to avoid giving their email addresses in forms of registration, contests, and surveys. Although some of the sites offering these are relatively safe, online predators can have the access to these websites through programs such as crawlers, bots, and spiders. These programs collect email addresses from the web which will be added to their mailing list. Keep your computer in open areas where you can easily see it – outside your kids' bedroom. And, set rules about personally meeting online friends. This should include telling you about the scheduled meeting and your presence on the actual meeting. Keep an open communication between you and your kids to make sure that they don't hide this information from you.
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