Rose DesRochers on Internet Safety a Parental Obligation: It’s your Duty to Protect your Children

I remember my parents telling me never to talk to strangers or never to take candy from a stranger, but today’s children log on to the internet daily and chat to strangers.

Some of these children even invite the stranger into their bedroom and share their most intimate secrets with him.

They are unaware that their new found friend is really a predator who is grooming them. Parents are unaware that their children are at risk.

It seems like not a day goes by where we don’t hear a case about child pornography, sexual exploitation or internet luring.

Some subjects are so uncomfortable that parents often choose to ignore them. Ignoring a problem does not solve a problem. They often believe the myth that it won’t happen in my home and it won’t happen to my child.

Parents you have a role to play in internet safety. Please do not ignore the risks.

If your child is a teen or pre-teen they are the ones posting pictures and personal information on networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook. Parents you need to get involved.

I speak from personal experience. It’s not just important to know what they are doing at home, but at school too.

As a parent it was shocking to learn that my sixteen year old daughter was able to use the computer at school unsupervised and like Suzanne Stanford, I too learned that my daughter had an online identity.

While she may not have been on networking sites such as MySpace, she was using the internet at school to communicate with friends.

I can guarantee that it doesn’t matter how much you talk to them about the dangers and risk of internet safety, they’ll ignore the warnings. “It won’t happen to me,” is a myth.

When a child posts personal information and a photo about themselves on a network site it has now made them a target for predators who are searching for the next child victim.

It’s important for both parents and children to know that it can happen to any child. It may already be happening to you or your child. Every time you or your child log onto the internet there is a predator online. One of them may even be talking to your child.

I wish more concerned individuals would join the fight. I for one want my voice to be heard.

It is going to take all concerned individuals pulling together to make the internet safe. You just cannot sit back and ignore the problem. You cannot think that it won’t happen in your home.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly one in five children ages 10 to 17 have been sexually solicited online.

You have to take the steps to get involved. The photos that your children are posting on network sites or the ones that you are sharing on your blog may seem sweet and innocent to you, but they are not to those who are trading and selling child porn. So how do you share photos with family and friends? Password protect those family photos and email friends and family members the link and password.

Ignoring a problem does not solve a problem. I urge you not to ignore this.

It’s your duty to protect your child and make the internet safer for them.

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