As parents and teachers, we are all terrified by the very worrying statistics and facts that we come across every day regarding Internet predatory and child abductions. Many kids who have access to the Internet have been approached by Internet pedophiles at least once, not to mention the times when they have been exposed to unwanted pornographic material and information. Kids online safety is something that we should all worry about, especially given the monstrous consequences that their exposure to such information might have. We should all work together for kidsí online safety, even if something of the kind has not yet happened to anyone you know. Just imagine that the next kid you hear or read about in the paper could be your own, or your friendsí child, or your next-door neighbor, or one of your students. Kids are innocent and we should try to do anything we can to prevent their exposure to violent material or dangerous individuals. Student safety falls into the same category, because many children who were trying to do their homework using Internet material have been approached by Internet pedophiles, or have been requested to give personal information. And the worst thing about these unfortunate situations is that too many of them give out personal information about themselves and their families, and very few of these children inform their parents about what they have done, or of what has been asked of them to do.
Everyone should be concerned about the safety of all the children around us. Teachers should corroborate all efforts with respect to student safety, and above all, all parents should follow some basic rules that can lead to more effective kids online safety.
For instance, you should set up some strict rules for going online, and make sure that your kids respect them. Deciding the time of day and the length of time your kids can be online is not enough. You also have to select the appropriate Internet areas that your children can visit, and make sure they respect these restrictions.
You have to instruct your children and students not to give out any personal information, phone number, home address, school address, or the parentsí phone number from work. All these are confidential to strangers, and you should explain to them that breaking this rule could have very serious consequences. You can use the numerous examples that you have at your disposal, regarding children who have been abducted and were never found again.
It is also advisable that you try to build a close relationship with your children or students, and encourage them to tell you about any problems that they may be faced with, including whether they have come across any information that made them uncomfortable, or whether they have been asked to send pictures of themselves, or go to meetings with people they have met online.
Student safety and kids online safety are extremely important concerns, especially given the fact that pedophiles are becoming more and more aware of all types of techniques that they can employ in order to avoid being traced. If we all work together and try to follow some basic safety tips for our children and students when they go online, we can all contribute to their safety.