The Internet: How to Keep Your Kids Safer
Kids are way ahead of adults when it comes to the digital
world. Three in five children under the age of 18 -- and more than
78 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 -- go online.
Yet very little is known about the potential dangers kids can face
while surfing the Internet.
A survey of the online experiences of teens and preteens, who use
the Internet on a regular basis, was conducted for the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children by the University of
New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center. The final
report included the following statistics:
- Approximately one in five kids received a sexual solicitation
or approach over the Internet in the last year.
- One in 33 received an aggressive sexual solicitation -- a solicitor
who asked to meet them somewhere, called them on the telephone or
sent mail, money or gifts.
- One in four had an unwanted exposure to pictures of naked people
or people having sex in the last year.
- One in 17 was threatened or harassed.
- Less than 10 percent of sexual solicitations were reported to
authorities such as a law-enforcement agency, an Internet service
provider, or a hotline.
The NetSmartz Workshop was created to address the need for Internet
safety education in an unprecedented way. The NetSmartz Workshop
is an interactive educational resource from the National Center
for Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs
of America (B&GCA) for children aged 5 to 17, parents, and educators
that uses age-appropriate, 3-D activities to teach children how
to stay safer on the Internet.
"This is an innovative, proactive program that is intended
to extend the safety awareness of children, increase their online
self-confidence, and prevent victimization," says Amy Ruttkamp
of the Boys & Girls Clubs.
The NetSmartz Workshop is divided into three sections.
Children aged 5 to 6 are introduced to Clicky who teaches children
about dangers on the Internet, how to avoid them, and how to practice
good "netiquette." Clicky introduces children to the "Webville
Outlaws" who represent different Internet dangers. Children
aged 7 to 9 are introduced to Nettie and Webster, two Internet kids,
who talk to children about online risks and introduce them to the
"WizzyWigs," creepy characters who represent Internet
The goal of NetSmartz Teens is to help teenagers learn how to use
the Internet more safely. This section contains a real-life example
of a teen who encountered dangers online. In the future this site
will provide safety tips and surveys about personal safety on the
Parents and Educators
Parents and educators can access the Web site to get on- and offline
activities and ideas for teaching Internet safety so that they can
help their children and/or students avoid the risks they face online.
Parents and educators are provided with relevant and current information
on Internet safety issues that affect children.
It is critical that children, parents, and educators inform themselves
about the potential dangers that children can face online. Begin
by teaching your children the three rules for Internet safety.
1. I will tell an adult I trust if something makes me feel scared,
uneasy, or confused.
2. I will not meet online friends in person.
3. I will ask an adult I trust before sharing my personal information.
For the NetSmartz Workshop, visit www.NetSmartz.org. For information
about Boys & Girls Clubs of America, go to www.bgca.org. More
information on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
can be found at www.missingkids.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
For a list of Monitoring Programs that can help Click