Protecting Children

There is no way to keep your child safe online. Absolutely none - just as there isn't in the real world. The key is to ensure that your child realises that the online world is a ficticious world - a land of make-believe that can be fun and can also be a nightmare.

There have been many cases of child abduction, paedophilia, murder and other crimes resulting from a child's use of the internet. If at all possible - keep your child away from the internet - as it's an adult medium of communication.

If you must allow your child to use the internet then ensure you do the following:

  1. Set the parental control settings on Internet Explorer (or whatever browser you use).

  2. Consider investing in a program such as Net Nanny (which should keep most of the bad stuff out).

  3. Consider investing in a monitoring program to monitor everything that your child does online but remember it's no good just monitoring. You, yourself, must check the logs to ensure everything's fine. It's a lot of work!

  4. Consider purchasing an anti-spam program. When set up correctly, it should keep out emails of a sexual, derogatory or perverted nature. It has been known for spammers to send full-colour, large-size paedophile images as part of their spam campaign.

  5. Never assume anything.

  6. Take an interest in what your child is doing online.

  7. Set time-limits for the amount of time they spend online. It's too easy for a parent to sit a child down in front of the computer while the parent does what he/she wants to do.

Why is it bad for children to spend too long on the internet? It's easy for the child to develop a relationship with the internet - it's as addictive as Nintendo Gameboys, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and television. Once there, it's easy for the child to believe anything somebody says because that glowing screen has an immense psychological impact. The child begins to empethise with the online community and makes friends. Such friends seem very real yet who are they? Where are they? Are they what they seem? The internet is an open door for paedophiles to groom your child and for burglars to find out what is in your house worth stealing.

There can be only one rule with online relationships - keep them online and never allow them to enter the real world. If your child accepts or makes a phonecall to an online friend, writes or receives a letter through the post from an online friend, punish that child and remove permanantly his or her internet access.

What should I do if I suspect a paedophile is in contact with my children? If you're in the UK then you're in luck because the hunt for paedophiles has reached "Witch Hunt" status. So contact your local police station. Don't waste your time with the desk staff - they're not even policemen. Write a letter to the Chief Constable and drop it into the police station. If it's in writing and you have a copy then they can't deny having had it and can't deny what you've said. Just try to make it rational and logical or you'll lose credebility.