If you have not checked lately the landscape of the internet for our children has made significant changes. You will find on their internet playground the likes of internet sexual predators, pedophiles, cyber-bullies and pornography.
Those of you who have kids who are online might want to know:
*There are 1.8 billion pornographic sites on the net accessible by your children. Most are extremely easy for underage children to view.
*Over 25 percent of our kids have been subjected to pornographic images while online unwillingly. They were not searching for it but were still exposed to it through no fault of their own.
*There are 5 million sexual predators that are online at any given moment, day and night. That is 5,000,000 sexual predators for your child to avoid!
*If your child posts in an online forum designed for youth, there is a 50/50 chance the kid your child is talking to is a sexual predator logged in with a false profile.
*The vast majority of our kids who are approached in a sexual manner on the net (approximately 75 percent) will not share that information with their parents or an authority figure.
*Over seventy-five percent of our children have no problems in sharing personal information with a stranger online. Over 75%, now that is something to be especially concerned about with regards to pedophiles.
*One of every three children who go online become victims to cyber-bullying. This is a serious danger to our children and has resulted in suicides, referred to as cyber bullycides.
*Over 40 percent of our children who fall victim to cyber-bullying never confide about the events with a parent, teacher, relative or authority figure. They keep it to themselves.
Now I am not making up these figures. They are published results that can be found on the web and were obtained analyzing surveys of our youth by, in most cases, law enforcement agencies.
So do we take our computers and lock them up? I do not think that will be the answer for several reasons.
*The internet and computers are still a valuable source of information to assist our children in their education. It does still provide a lot of positives, we just need to avoid the negatives.
*If your children are "addicted" to the web I am sure if you took away those privileges they would jump onto the net the first time they visited a friend or a place that offers internet stations for the public such as libraries or internet cafes.
So what do we do? How do we further protect our kids online so they can take advantage of the positives it offers?
This is a difficult question to answer. A lot will be determined by the social development of your child. Every child is different.