Internet Safety

Internet predatorStaying Connected
Millions of people are now connecting their personal computers to telephone lines so that they can go online. Traditionally, online services have been oriented towards adults, but that's changing. An increasing number of schools are going online and, in many homes, children are logging on to commercial services, private bulletin boards, and the Internet. As a parent you need to understand the nature of these systems.
  • Online services are maintained by commercial, self-regulated businesses that may screen or provide editorial / user controls, when possible, of the material contained on their systems.
  • Computer Bulletin Boards, called BBS systems, can be operated by individuals, businesses, or organizations. The material presented is usually theme oriented offering information on hobbies and interests. While there are BBS systems that feature adult oriented material, most attempt to limit minors from accessing the information contained in those systems.
  • The Internet, a global network of networks, is not governed by any entity. This leaves no limits or checks on the kind of information that is maintained by and accessible to Internet users.
The Benefits of the Information Highway
As an educational tool users can learn about virtually any topic. The vast array of services that you currently find online is constantly growing. Reference information such as news, weather, sports, stock quotes, movie reviews, encyclopedias, and airline fares are readily available online. Users can conduct transactions such as trading stocks, making travel reservations, banking, and shopping online.

Millions of people communicate through electronic mail (email) with family and friends around the world and others use the public message boards to make new friends who share common interests. As an educational and entertainment tool users can learn about virtually any topic, take a college course, or play an endless number of computer games with other users or against the computer itself. User computing is enhanced by accessing online thousands of shareware and free public domain software titles. Most people who use online services have mainly positive experiences. But, like any endeavor, traveling, cooking, or attending school, there are some risks. The online world, like the rest of society, is made up of a wide array of people. Most are decent and respectful, but some may be rude, obnoxious, insulting, or even mean and exploitative.

Children and teenagers get a lot of benefit from being online, but they can also be targets of crime and exploitation in this as in any other environment. Trusting, curious, and anxious to explore this new world and the relationships it brings, children and teenagers need parental supervision and common sense advice on how to be sure that their experiences in cyberspace are happy, healthy, and productive.