Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

How can we keep our kids safe?

on May 3, 2012

How many of your kids use the internet? All of them, right? Well, more and more frequently, children and teens are put into dangerous or threatening situations because of ads, social media sites, and gaming networks. If your child has a research project at home and accidentally types “.com” instead of “.org” for many government agencies, they are linked to pornographic sites.

You might even be putting your child in danger by the activity that you participate in on the web. There are some steps that need to be taken to insure our kids’ safety on the internet. But first, I know you’re thinking “this can’t happen to me or my kids” so, let me give you some statistics (from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children):

– 1 in 3 teens (12-17) have experienced online harassment.

– 27% of teens (12-17) play games with people they don’t know online.

– 1 in 25 youths received an online sexual solicitation where the solicitor tried to make offline contact (to put that into perspective, we have an average of 50 kids coming through KidZone each week… that means statistically, 2 of them will be solicited online each week.)

Aren’t those statistics scary? It seems like every new and great piece of technology comes along with a scarier danger. What can we do to keep harmful people away from our kids? Well, there are a few things, but the first and most important thing is – BE EDUCATED. A lot of times I see parents letting their children surf the internet without even knowing what sites they visit or having protection set up on their computer! Know that there is danger online, from even the most seemingly innocent websites like YouTube.com or AddictingGames.com and that there are people trying to solicit and harm our kids.

To become more educated on this issue, there’s a great site called “Enough is Enough” – Protecting your family

Next – Protect yourself so your kids are protected. These three things can keep your kids, and yourself protected:

1 – Set all of your social media sites (Facebook and MySpace) to “private”. If you don’t do this; Anyone and Everyone will be able to see your pictures, your posts, your likes, and any personal information that you share (where you’re picking up your kids, what friend they are spending the night with, what park you’re going to….and the list goes on and on).

2 – Go into the settings of your SmartPhone and turn your location settings “off” at least for the photo section. Here’s why – NBC news

3 – Create safety settings on not only your computer, but on your router at home. This will automatically protect your computer from pornographic sites, extremely violent sites, and pop-ups that might come up in front of your kids’ eyes. Here’s what you can do for a free (and this is what I use at my house – thanks, Pastor Mike!) – This Website explains it better than I could

How do I know what I’m talking about? Do you still think that you don’t need to take measures to protect yourself online? Well, you may notice that my husband and I don’t have Facebook. It’s not because we aren’t social people. It’s because we were harassed via email (which we had to change) and Skype (which we don’t have anymore) because someone found our information on Facebook – and we weren’t even kids when this happened! We were young adults! It was hard enough for us when this happened. But I can’t even imagine what it would be like for a kid who didn’t know what to do to fight back and protect themselves.

So Please take this seriously. Protect your family!

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