Two recent arrests in our area send out red flags about use of the Internet by teens.
Obviously, we assume the men arrested are innocent until proven guilty. Our view is based on facts in the cases as stated by investigating officers.
Basically, investigators claim men attempted to lure underage girls into some sort of sexual encounter. Now, more than ever, parents need to know what their children are doing on the Web and who they are contacting.
Think you'll be called nosy, interfering, bossy? Probably, but in this case it's a good thing for a parent. That means they are taking an active interest in protecting their child from a predatory situation.
Here are some other tips from the website InternetSafety.com:
Become a net-savvy parent. The best safeguard against online dangers is being informed. Jump in and learn the basics of the Internet-read articles, take a class, and talk to other parents. You don't have to be an expert to have a handle on your child's online world.
"Chat" with your kids. Develop an open dialogue so that you can talk with your kids about the benefits and dangers of the Internet. Cultivate an interest in their online activities-their favorite Web sites, online games, and interests. And don't be afraid to ask your children who they are talking to online and what they are talking about.
Agree on a game plan. Formally agree on your family's guidelines for using the Internet. Post them near the family computer as a reminder. Ensure that your kids know to never share personal information on the Internet and that they should tell you about any online activity or contact that makes them uncomfortable.
Protect your computer. Take advantage of the software that exists to help parents manage their children's computer experience. In only a few minutes, parental control software can block inappropriate websites, restrict the amount of time that your kids use the Internet and monitor their Instant Messenger chats to protect against predators.
Explore the Internet as a family. With a game plan and a protected computer, you can now encourage your family to take advantage of all that the Internet has to offer. Stay engaged with them online.