Are you the parent of a child or a teenager who wants to use the internet, if they don’t already? If so, you may have some concerns. Yes, it is typically safe for your child to use the internet to do research for school projects, but did you also know that children and teens are now using it to communicate with their friends or other internet users? This is how and when using the internet at a young age can become a problem.
As important as it is to hear that your child can find themselves in trouble online, if you do not know what internet safety steps can help to protect them, you may be looking for more information. You also may be curious as to what it is about the internet that can be so dangerous. For your convenience, five reasons why internet use can be dangerous for children and teenagers are highlighted below.
1 – False Identities Are Easy to Create
Making new friends online is easy and convenient, but it is much different than doing so in person. Why? Because you can’t see who is at the other end of the computer. The internet makes it easy for someone to be anyone else in the world. For example, if your child is using social networking websites online, they have to enter in their age. They could easily lie themselves or they could be talking to someone else who is.
2 – Internet Predators
As it was previously stated, the internet makes it easy to create a new, false identity. Often times, the individuals who lie about their ages are internet predators. They are the ones who target children, like yours. Unfortunately, many children, teenagers, and their parents cannot tell an internet predator until it is too late, like when the predators try to approach your child or contact them in person.
3 – So Many Websites To Choose From
What is nice about the internet is that you have so many websites to choose from. In fact, that is why it is a good way to research school projects. With that said, having so many websites to choose from can be dangerous. Your child can gain access to social networking websites, adult chat rooms, pornographic websites, and websites that are violent in nature. Unless you have parental controls set up, your child can easily access any type of website with a standard internet search.
4 – Not All Information Is Private
Unfortunately, many individuals, including both children and parents, do not know that the information that is posted online isn’t always private. For starters, most teens have their MySpace profiles set to public, as opposed to private. This means that anyone can view it. There are also online message boards that are indexed by the search engines. This means that others can view the conversations that were discussed, even years down the road.
5 – They Are In Control
When your child uses the internet, they are the ones who are in control. This can be okay if your child is older and mature, but you honestly never know. You may ask your child not to communicate with strangers online, give out their phone numbers, or share pictures with strangers, but that doesn’t mean that they will follow your rules. For that reason, if you do let your child use the internet, be sure to monitor their use.