I think any parent who is familiar with the internet knows there are serious safety issues for teenagers and children when online.
Many parents who are responsible and pro-active in protecting their children from internet dangers feel they have a total command of the situation.
They check their kids computers for things like:
*History Files showing sites visited
*E-mails received and sent
*Check sites they frequent such as Facebook or MySpace to view activity
They will also do things like:
*Install parental control software to filter content available to kids.
*Check in on their teens when online to “see” what they are up to.
Now what parents do not know: (according to surveys taken)
*6 out of 10 teens questioned said they know how to hide their internet activities from their parents
*Over one third of our teens will clear the browser history files in an attempt to hide their online activities from “spying” parents.
*Almost 20 percent of our teens use private web mail accounts to conceal their email communications from their parents.
*Around 22 percent of our teens create private profiles for social networking sites so parents can not view their activities.
*over 4 out of 10 said they have closed or minimized the browser window at the first sign of a parent coming near where they were on the PC.
*Over 25 percent of our teens will go so far as deleting cookies, cache files, and temp files to help keep their activities unknown to parents.
*Over 1 of 10 have stated they have disabled or unlocked parental control software while online and then reset and activate it when they log off.
So what we have here is a gigantic chess match between parents and teenagers.
If the parents win they achieve increased security for their child while online.
If the teenager wins they gain independence they want from “snooping” parents but lose in that they are now in danger of many internet risks they may not be able to side step like they did their parents intervention.
Unfortunately, these same teenagers who outwit their parents to gain internet freedom admit in the same surveys:
*Close to 70 percent of our children see no risks in sharing personal information over the net including name, address, photo & phone numbers
*Over 10 per cent of our children have accepted invitations to meet an online stranger at a specified location offline.
*Over 20 percent of our teenagers have had some form of communication from strangers online of a sexual content nature and do not report it to parents.
With this in mind how do we protect our teenagers from internet dangers?
Teenagers and internet use creates one of the more serious safety risks our kids face today in this high tech society.