Internet Safety Tips
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According to a recent study, more than half of all American homes are now equipped with personal computers. Many of these computers have been connected to the Internet, which enables the user to communicate with a global network of businesses, organizations, and ordinary citizens.
The Internet has a number of important uses, particularly for children, who can access educational information on virtually every topic imaginable.
But there is a dangerous side to the Internet without proper supervision, they can fall victim to one of these predators.
The best way to protect them is to learn about how the Internet works and to lay down a series of guidelines for your children to follow anytime they go “on-line.”
The tips found on this Web site will help promote safe Internet usage in your home.
Why should I be concerned about my child using the internet?
You have probably seen newspaper headlines like the ones here— sex offenders are beginning to take advantage of the Internet to contact potential victims. Some pedophiles have been caught by the police in the Internet sting operations trying to set up face-to-face meetings with unsuspecting children. Others have been arrested for posting images of child pornography on Internet sites.
However, police agencies cannot keep up with every criminal who decides to use the Internet for illegal purposes and there are sites on the Internet that are perfectly legal, but not suitable for children. Parents must take the lead in protecting their children from inappropriate items that appear on the Internet the same way that they shield their children from inappropriate movies that appear on television.
What does being online mean?
Being online means being connected to the Internet — A network of computers connecting people and information throughout the world. Access to the Internet is gained by subscribing to an Internet Service Provider, a private self-regulated business (known as an ISP). That company provides a telephone connection to the Internet, often referred to as the World Wide Web.
Here are some ways the Internet can be used:
- Conduct research and obtain information on any topic.
- Obtain everyday information related to world news, business, sports, travel, and entertainment. Nearly every magazine and newspaper published today has an Internet site.
- Send and receive Electronic Mail (E-mail) to/from anyone with an Internet address.
- Visit “chat rooms” and discuss any topics with others who have similar interests.
- Shop for just about any type of item at a variety of commercial sites.
What are "Chat Rooms" and " Internet Blogs"
Chat rooms are Internet locations where live and interactive conversations are held between two or more computer users. Chat rooms can be very enticing for children because of the appeal of a “pen pal” and instant “live” communication. Most chat rooms are not monitored and anyone can post anything. All communication can be anonymous.
Internet blogs can be operated by individuals, businesses, or organizations who often use them for advertising purposes. The topics are usually theme oriented offering information on hobbies or interests.
What are the dangers of my child using the internet unsupervised?
- Exposure to inappropriate material of a sexual or violent nature.
- Harassment: Young people might encounter e-mail or chat messages that are threatening in some way.
- Physical molestation: In some cases pedophiles have used online services to meet young children/teens by posing as a teen and then arranging a face-to-face meeting.
Parental Guidlines For Internet Safety
- Keep the computer in a family room rather than the child’s bedroom.
- Read about and familiarize yourself with on-line services and learn how to log on with your child.
- Establish a password for your computer to prevent children from being online without your knowledge.
- Instruct your children never to give out personal information on the computer, such as their name, address, phone number, school name, or a photograph.
- Instruct your children not to respond to any messages that are mean or make them feel uncomfortable and to notify you immediately.
- Consult a computer dealer regarding the use of blocking software.
- Make going online a family activity, spend time with your children while they’re online.
To report suspicious activities contact:
Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department
Child Exploitation Unit
To set up a workshop on Internet Safety contact:
Jail Diversion and Crime Prevention Division (773) 674-7159
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