The World Wide Web provides you access to just about everything. It’s an amazing invention that allows people to connect worldwide and it takes businesses to a whole new level. It’s wonderful to be able to purchase something without leaving the house, obtain a degree from the comforts of home, create your own business at home, or connect with family and friends miles away. But with all the great things the internet can provide us there are some not so great things to be aware of. The internet can also be an easy tool for scammers. People will find a way to get money out of you and offer you things that just don’t exist. There are so many adults that fall for scams so it’s even harder for kids to recognize the real from the fake.
With all these social media outlets out there, kids can be connected with so many people. Sometimes it’s hard to meet good people in person and it’s even harder trying to find a good person online because online you can be who you want to be. Unfortunately a 13 year old was killed allegedly by a man she met online. This 13 year old girl used the Kik app to connect with people and this is where she met an 18 year old college student who is now being charged with her murder after she snuck out the house to meet him. Another female who went to college with the 18 year old is also charged. Kik allows you to anonymously chat and send pictures with people. This is what predators like because they can be who they want to be and trick unexpected people into meeting them. Unfortunately some of these meetings lead to rape, assault, and even death. It’s a harsh reality to admit but it’s something to be aware of because it can happen to anyone.
There are so many dangers lurking online that your kids need to be aware of. Kids at times can be more gullible and more adventurous online because they are not always aware of the consequences to the things they do and what they expose themselves to online. Some kids are sad and depressed in their lives so they connect with people online to show a different side of themselves and to look for validation from others. Online you can be anyone. You can go from being quiet, shy, and unpopular in your real life to being popular, flirtatious, and outgoing online. Kids who do this don’t always understand how portraying something online can provide dangers to you in real life. Instead of looking for that validation and acceptance from others they should look for it within.
As scary as this may all sound parents have to be proactive in the lives their kids live online. I know it may make kids feel like you can’t trust them but it’s for their protection because as the parent you want to make sure they are safe. Sure there are no full proof ways of protecting your kids from everything that they may encounter online but here are some things you can do to help keep them safe.
- Know what apps your kids are using and what sites they are visiting
- Know your child’s passwords.
- Monitor and limit their conversations with strangers.
- Communicate with them the potential dangers online.
- Follow them on social media.
- Block access to certain sites that you feel unfit for your child
While these suggestions can help, it is always best to keep the line of communication open with your kids and teach them as much as you can to prepare them for life. There is so much out there and with access online the possibilities are endless to what your kids can be exposed to. Awareness is important to understand the dangers of what may be lurking online and through the help of law enforcement and the parents, the hope is that those predators are stopped before they cause any dangers.