Teens And Blogs – Internet Safety Wake-Up Call

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In November of 2005, I read that a Roman Catholic high school in Sparta had

ordered its students to remove personal blogs from the Internet, in the name

of protecting them from cyberpredators. Which brings me to an important question,

just how can you keep your child safe online? The Internet is a “gateway” which

leads the adult predator to your child. Parents need to recognize the need to better

monitor their children’s online activity. I believe that websites like xanga, myspace,

and livejournal, make it all too easy for sexual predators to prey on our children.

Children are vulnerable and they don’t realize that anyone can and most likely is

reading their blog entries. Both my children have blogs, however they are under

moderation by both my husband and I. Frankly, as a parent of two teenagers

I believe that it is up to us as parents to educate our children about the online dangers.

 

Children’s blogs are a pedophile’s playground, because of the easy ability to

look into a child’s world. As parents we can help our children stay safe while using a blog.

For information about blogging safety please visit http://BlogSafety.com and http://SafeTeens.com

Regarding sites like hi5: I’ve received several invitations from hi5, but I never signed

up until November 2005. It wasn’t long before I was removing my account.

I should have read the privacy policy before I registered.

It reads: hi5 collects personal information when you register, when you use hi5,

when you visit hi5 pages or the pages of certain hi5 partners. hi5 may combine

information about you that we have with information we obtain from business partners

or other companies. Once you register with hi5 and sign in to our services, you are

not anonymous to us. hi5 collects information about your transactions with us and with

some of our business partners. hi5 automatically receives and records information on our

server logs from your browser.

Basically, they have spyware.

 

Hi5 collects your Hotmail or yahoo address lists and contacts.

Once you register there is an e-mail that is sent to everyone in your address book.

This e-mail is sent without your permission.

The website also requests, your hotmail and yahoo password. I never gave my password,

I was not that gullible. However hi5 was still able to gather my information and

contact those listed in my address book. I finally was able to delete my account,

through the instructions in their help file.

In my opinion, hi5 is even worse than xanga and myspace.

I encourage all parents, whose children have an account on hi5, to log into hi5

and delete their children’s account.

Too much personal information is being revealed on these websites, making it a

haven for sexual predators. Parents need to wake up.

I for one, am very concerned with websites like hi5, MySpace, Xanga, DeadJournal,

Blurty, etc that encourage children to post their photos and personal information.

I strongly suggest that if your child uses the computer and you have not been

monitoring their activity, it is time that you found out just what they are doing.

 

A report aired Dateline Friday, Jan. 27, at 9 p.m. by Rob Stafford,

a Correspondent of NBC News, tells parents why they should mind MySpace.

If you have not seen this report, I suggest you take a moment to view it at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11064451/

You owe it to your children.

Which brings me to my next concern, the Internet is a scary place,

filled with all kind of strange people. I believe that when you post your child’s

picture on the net, you put them at risk.

Did you know that your personal information, such as your home phone number and

address can easily be found on the internet?

If this isn’t one reason to make you reconsider posting your child’s picture on

the internet, how about that in this day and age, photos can be digitally altered and

appear on porn sites.

According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children more than

20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the internet every week.

 

Donna Rice Hughes of http://Protectkids.com states, “… the demand for pornographic images

of babies and toddlers on the internet is soaring.” (Prof. Max Taylor,

Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe, March 2003). More babies and

toddlers are appearing on the net and the abuse is getting worse. Images are more

torturous and sadistic than they were was before.

The typical age of children found on pornography sites is between 6 and 12, but the

profile is getting younger (Prof. Max Taylor, Combating Paedophile Information

Networks in Europe, March 2003). The U.S. Customs Service estimates that there are

more than 100,000 web sites offering child pornography – which is illegal worldwide.

Red Herring Magazine, 1/18/02)” I don’t consider myself paranoid, but

I don’t post my children’s pictures on the internet and I believe that you shouldn’t either.

We all have cute children and are proud of them. But parents, please use some common sense.

Keep your child safe and out of the arms of child predators. A good website to check out is:

http://members.tripod.com/~Seadooer/sayno-contests.html

 

Say no to children’s pictures on the web and for goodness sake, monitor your child’s

internet activity. Our children are our most valuable asset, love them and protect them.