Internet Safety: Kids Under 13

Online access is a great feature for kids who are under the age of 13. It grants them the ability to work with technology, as well as the ability to access vast amounts of usable information. However, the internet is also a dangerous place for kids, especially those who are under the age of 13. This is due to the fact that most kids this age do not understand the concept of online predators and manipulation. Those who are thirsty for attention might take actions which are ultimately detrimental. It is important to establish a good relationship with your kids so that they feel comfortable coming to you with concerns.

All you have to do is watch one episode of Dateline’s show, To Catch A Predator, and it will be enough to make your skin crawl. The show depicts mostly adult men, who meet underage kids on the internet for sex. However, the show is based around a sting operation which catches these people in the act. If your child is at least 12 or 13 years old, it would not hurt to watch an episode with them. Sometimes it takes a more direct approach to ensure the safety of your kids.

Once you foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation, your kids will feel much more comfortable talking to you about online issues. If they are contacted by a stranger or another adult that they do not know, they should immediately notify you. Teach them the key warning signs. These might include the request of personal information like an address, pictures or their full name. All of these are red flags and they should be treated as such. When your kids know the warning signs, they are far less likely to become a victim.