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Protecting and Monitoring Our Children on the Internet

updated 02/01/2010

Parents today are faced with problems and dangers for their children that previous generations had not experienced. These problems originate from the rapidly evolving computer and internet technologies that have become part of our lives.

You need to learn what is going on with the internet and how to protect your children.

Introduction

Crimes are being committed against children using the internet. And, unfortunately, children often do not even know that they are victims of crimes.

In addition, children are using the internet to commit crimes as well.

Some children are doing very sneaky things with their computers to hide their true activities.

After showing you some of the potential problems and dangers with the internet, you will be shown what you should do as parents to keep your children safe and legal.

Crime

Children of today are more vulnerable to predators than in the past because criminals are able to act anonymously thanks to the internet.

The most likely targets are:

  • Older children
  • Troubled children
  • Rebellious children
  • Children that chat alot online

Children that are Most Vulnerable

Usual Types of Victimization

Statistical Findings

The Justin Berry Story

Over 4 million websites sexually exploit children.

Over 1 million Child Porn pictures seized in raid

90,000 sex offenders removed from social networking site

Find the Registered Sex Offenders in Your Neighborhood

In 2007, research showed that 42% of children aged 10-17 had been exposed to porn on the internet in the past year. That number is even higher today.

Rising Number of Children Exposed to Internet Porn

Cartoon Porn

Marge Simpson on the Cover of Playboy

Do not be misled by the cartoon aspects. As I go around fixing computers, I am horrified by the extent of XXX porn that I find on children's computers, including perverted acts and bondage.

The bad thing about young children being exposed to porn on a regular and recurring basis is that they become more sexually active at an earlier age. This is part of the reason that there are so many pregnancies of young girls in the middle school and high school. If you have a young daughter, pregnancy prevention should be a topic that you thoroughly discuss with your daughters.

Google has recently added a safe search filter to their website. It is absolutely wonderful at filtering out the sexually explicit material from searches!

Prior to this feature, a totally innocent search could bring up massive quantities of sexually explicit pictures.

For example, I once did a search for something about eagles. Never in my wildest imagination did I expect tons of porn images to appear in my search results.

Well, the porn came up as a result of spread eagle, but it was so unexpected.

The unfortunate thing about Google safe search is that it can be easily turned off.

Innocent people can be framed for child porn by viruses:

Sexting

Sexting in America: The Medium, the Message and the Truth About Teens

Think your kid isn't 'sexting'? Think again

Changes in Copyright Laws and File Sharing Software

In 2008, three new laws were passed to protect copyrights.

Copyright Law of the United States

The main change is the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2008.

Bush signs RIAA-backed intellectual-property law

Copyright infringement has gone from a civil offense to a criminal offense.

Computers used for copyright infringement can be seized and impounded.

It dramatically increases the monetary damages awarded for copyright infringement, up to $150,000 per violation.

Many children are downloading copyrighted music and movies from file-sharing sites without paying for them because it's easy and "everybody is doing it." Not only is it illegal, it can also totally trash your computer. Typical examples are Kazaa, Limewire, Frostwire, AG Satellite, Morpheus, BitTorrent, BearShare, and Napster. There are many more File-Sharing Sites.

If you have teens, you might want to check your computer for these programs, for if they get sued, the parent is liable.

Other Dangers

Children are generally naive and trusting. They often give out personal information that should not be revealed.

Kids Scams

The Dark Side of MySpace

Violent Games

According to an article from futureofchildren.org, "The most popular video games played by youth contain violence, and these violent games have been linked to a host of aggression-related cognitive, emotional, and behavioral outcomes. These outcomes include more positive attitudes toward violence, increased use of aggressive words or solutions to hypothetical problems, quicker recognition of facial anger, increased self-perception as being aggressive, increased feelings of anger and revenge motives, decreased sensitivity to scenes and images of real violence, and changes in brain function associated with lower executive control and heightened emotion."

FTC: Children still marketed violent content

Violent Video Games Lead to Aggression

Is video-game addiction a mental disorder?

There are psychological issues resulting from frequent use of electronic media to communicate. Since there is a lack of real human interaction, undeveloped social skills result from this, such as learning to read body language and facial expressions

Cyberbullying Statistics That May Shock You

Suicide

One of the causes of the increasing problem of teen suicide is linked to social networking sites, including MySpace.

Because of the impersonal nature of social networking, out children are increasingly at risk for this behavior, especially when they are being ridiculed by others in the internet. It is absolutely heartbreaking.

Teen commits suicide over sexting photos

Ugly blind date leads to suicide

Fake MySpace website created by a woman in Missouri leads to 13-year-old's suicide.

The Dangers of Emo

Suicide Prevention

Hacking School Computers (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

Much marketing advertising is directed at children

The average child is exposed to over 40,000 ads per year on TV.

Quite often, the TV is on while using computer.

According to an article from futureofchildren.org, "in 2004, eight to eighteen year olds reported media exposure levels (time spent with individual media content) more than 25 percent higher than media use levels (overall time spent with media). Put another way, by multitasking children were able to achieve 7:50 hours of media exposure in only 5:48 hours of media."

Children and Electronic Media

This constant marketing exposure creates illusions in the minds of our young people regarding how they should look and act.

How Marketing Creates False Perceptions of Beauty (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

Cheating on test videos (do not click on the videos listed if you have dial-up)

Warning Signs That Your Child is Having Cyber Issues

Sneaky Things

Proxy Browsers

Most web filtering software works by looking up each website's address before going to make sure it is not a banned web site. (The website address is also known as the URL Uniform Resource Locator for example, http://www.badaddress.com).

Now there's a very easy way for children and employees to get to the blocked sites no matter what URL filtering software is in place.

This is done by using a service called Anonymous Proxy. It has actually been around since 2002, but it was a relatively unknown service. In the beginning, there just were a few, but now there are over 10,000 anonymous proxy sites, and it's a service that is growing like a weed.

An Anonymous Proxy service brings up ANY web page that the viewer wants by bringing it up through the proxy service web page--no matter what.

Web filtering services could add the anonymous proxy addresses and block them too, but with over 10,000 of these sites, many more daily, and clever concealment techniques, it is a battle that cannot be won with filtering. For example, there are web proxy services that never tell you they are web proxy services. Some of the services are two and three screens deep on a web site.

Proxy Browser (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

How to Bypass School Filters (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

How to Bypass Internet Filters (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

Children also know how to turn off monitoring software, such as netnanny.

How to Bypass Parental Controls (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

How to Hide Porn From Parents (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

How to Hide a Folder (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

How to hide files (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

How to Hide Porn From Mom Video (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

Did you know that Windows has a secret internet browser? (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

Okay. So mom or dad walks in the room. What to do to hide what you're really doing?

Flip the screen. Completely change your desktop in just a second. It's quick and easy with what is called cube desktops.

Cube Desktops (video--do not click if you have dial-up)

Memory sticks and CDs are also used to view materials that children want to hide from their parents. They simply remove them.

Chat Room Acronyms

What Should Parents Do

The #1 answer is to put computers in common areas, such as the living room, dining room, or the kitchen.

Why are kids still surfing in the bedroom

Control all access to computer cameras.

Have a one-on-one conversation with your child about the dangers of the internet. Ask them if they know about any of the dangers mentioned. Let them tell you.

Internet Safety - What parents need to know

20 Tips to Protect Your Children on the Internet

You also have the option of putting monitoring software in your computer, such as Big Brother or Spy Buddy to track your children. It would definitely work, but it would be an after-the-fact method.

The phone application, called "Mobile Protector," allows a parent to screen a child's incoming and outgoing calls and messages, block particular numbers and even listen in on a conversation from a computer.

There are apps that allow you to track your child's location using the internet or a cell phone, if they have a tracking device.

Article about tracking children with GPS devices.

If your teen has an iPhone, Locimobile app.

GPS tracking shoes

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