How to Keep your Children Safe from Online Dating Scams
Every parent has heard of the dangers of the Internet and predators. When it comes to protecting their children from the risks of the Internet, most parents would do anything in the name of their child’s safety. If you are concerned about what your child might be exposed to on the Internet, then take a moment to read through the following tips that can help you be aware of what is available online.
1. Where predators find your children.
There are several mediums through which a predator might attempt to contact your child. These mediums include online communities, such as Facebook and MySpace, chat rooms, instant messaging forums and dating sights (believe it or not, curious children may visit dating sites too.)
As a parent, it is your responsibility to monitor your children’s movements online. You should know at all times what your child is doing, what sites she or he visits and who she interacts with. Have an open dialogue with your child about the dangers of online dating and be sure to let them know that if anything should happen that makes them uncomfortable while browsing the internet, they should speak with you.
2. How they reach your children.
Predators may pose as other young people in order to establish contact with your child. They may then learn the address of your home and offer to visit the child or to meet the child elsewhere. The potential of obtaining a new friend is alluring to any child, but as a parent, you should know that the people that your child meets online might be misrepresenting themselves.
If your child is going to meet someone that he or she meets online, it is important that you are present. Let your child know that you will drive him or her to a location or offer to take the two of them out. This way, you will be able to assure that the new friend is actually an appropriate friend.
3. Create open communication.
The best way to assure that your child stays safe online is to maintain open communication between the two of you. If your child feels comfortable coming to you if he or she has a need or concern, then he is most likely to keep you in tune with his life. Likewise, if he knows that he can trust you, then the chances of him respecting your opinion and trying to understand your reasoning is far greater than if he felt that you were simply being restrictive.
There are many dangers associated with allowing young children to have free reign on the Internet. However, it is also important for your child to demonstrate responsibility and learn to make good choices. Coaching your children through the awareness process will establish a mutual respect and grounds for communication.