Keeping Kids Safe on the Internet

The biggest trick some child predators' are using these days is to pretend to be a kid, in a kid site chat room.

Child predators are talking the lingo, misspelling words, having simple conversations to gain trust with children on the internet.

But do you really know just how fast they can find information about your child or your family?

This is one website every parent must see:

http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/index.html

Scroll down to the bottom and you will see a section called

Interactive Tools

Then click on the link

'What Can Be Revealed in Minutes About Your Child Online'

It is a downloadable tutorial that shows parents and kids just how someone can search for information about you or your child, if they frequent chat rooms, or send out any type of posts on the internet.

It shows you how a stranger on the internet can find out EVERYTHING about your child in about 45 minutes, with even the smallest piece of information to start with.

Here is the direct url for the tutorial:

http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/Multimedia/NCMEC%20Video%202.exe

So what will a child abductor do with this information?

Even if they do not know what your child looks like, they can wait for them to come home from school, call them by name, call them on the phone.

And if they walk home from school, they can come in contact with them en route back home.

Without a doubt, the most dangerous of all? ...you might not even know if your child is being stalked by a person like this.

Here are some tips to safeguard your child against these types of individuals:

1. Just like TV, video games, or watching movies, you shouldn't let your child have free reign of the computer any time they like.

Have a central family computer space (keep it out of their rooms if there is an internet hook-up) By making use of the computer as a family affair, parents can keep a close eye on who they are interacting with.

2. Make sure you know who they are chatting with online and tell them exactly why you're concerned. Just like you want to meet their friends, get to know who they are talking to online.

tip - Kids are smart these days. They know there are nasty people in our society. Be open with them about your concerns and tell them you love them and You don't want anything happening to them. That way when you do get 'nosey cozy' every time they're online, it's not a shock to their system.

Tell your child under no circumstances should they give out their name, address, phone #, or where they go to school over the internet.

tip - It's natural for a kid to want to talk about those things. That's what makes up their day. Help them fight the urge by working with your child on 'safe' topics to chat about; movies, music, current events, even what they are learning in school. But nothing personal.

4. Have them tell you if there are any conversations that make them feel uncomfortable and to not believe anyone they chat with when they type in "Don't Tell Your Mom or Dad..." That's a big flag. Have them tell you about it.

5. Chatting kids should know never to meet ANYONE off of the internet without checking with their parents first, whether in a separate chat room or in person. They must have a parent along and meet in a public place.

6. Tell your child they should NEVER send a picture to anyone, without your permission.

Talk with your child about setting rules for going online (time of day, length of time) and what sites and chat rooms are OK to visit. And what would happen if they break those rules.

Working together, parents and kids can make the internet informative and fun, just don't make it easy for a child predator to find them.

Michelle Annese is a 3rd degree black belt with 15+ years experience teaching industry specific self defense and safety for women and children. She is author of 'the Realtor Survival Guide", 'Protection for Women', and 'The SafeGuard System for Kids'. For more information on how to protect yourself and your family go to http://www.michelleannese.com and check out other articles and sign up for a free safety tips e-newsletter.

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