I believe it cannot be said enough, COMMUNICATION COMMUNICATION COMMUNICATION. Please if you get nothing from what all these experts are bringing to the table take this away from it. Talk to your children. Let them know you are listening. You just might impressed when you realize that they really are listening to you. They just want you to hear them also.

Tips on The Internet Predator:

This is what got me involved with Internet Safety for Children in the first place.

– First and Foremost – People are not always who they say they are online. I have had grown men believing that I am a 13 yr-old girl
– There are many Predators that will act as if they are children just to gain your child’s trust.
– You would be surprised at how fast an Internet Predator can gain your Child’s trust.
– The Internet Predator is very patient. I have spoken to Predators for a couple of months at a time.

– Discuss with your child to please bring any unwanted comments or advances to your attention right away, without the fear of having the Internet taken away.
– The number one Weapon in Parent’s Arsenal to Protect their Children from On and Off Line Threats is Communication followed closely by Number two Paying Attention. If you know what your child is doing online and the lines of communication and trust are pretty strong, you will be well ahead of many at protecting your Child from these Internet Predators.

Tips to Help Prevent Sexting:

Definition – “Sexting” is the exchange of nude photos between children or even between adults via electronic communications usually Cell Phones. I go a step further with this to include sexy texting. I persoannly believe that the sexy texting is going to lead to the possible sharing of nude or semi nude photos between two persons.

Why does this activity take place? This activity usually takes place within a relationship. What happens in many cases is the boyfriend will pressure the girlfriend to take a sexy picture of herself for him, sort of as a present. The two believe they are soul mates and will never breakup. This is good for about two weeks as tweens and teens. This mistake though could possibly cost them their lives though.

– Don’t even take a nude or semi nude photo that you may be tempted to send out. A nude or semi nude photo of yourself or anyone else, for that matter is considered illegal if you are a minor < 18. You would be better off to not have taken this sort of picture at all. What you have done, when you take this picture of yourself or another minor nude or semi nude, is created Child Pornography which is illegal. If you send that picture to anyone you can now be in trouble for distributing Child Pornography. Whomever has the picture now, can be in trouble for possession of Child Pornography. - If for some reason you don't get into Legal trouble over a "Sexting" incident there are other life problems you are going to run into. When the picture comes out, and they often do, there will be the embarrassment of everyone seeing the picture. This can certainly lead to a Reputation problem, Bullying and CyberBullying. - Talking to your children about "Sexting" is probably going to be just as uncomfortable as talking to them about Sex itself. "Show Me Yours and I Will Show You Mine" has evolved into "Sexting" and we as Parents need to try and stay ahead or at the very least Keep up, if we are going to protect our Children on and off line. - If you find out your child is "Sexting" get the situation under control quickly and calmly. Talk to your child about the repercussions of their actions. Get them to understand the Legal and Non-Legal issues that could become the fall out of this type of activity. - Let your child know if they receive a nude photo to their phone from another teen that they need to let you or another trusted adult know right away so things can be taken care of quickly. If it happens more than once, then the other individual / Parents need to be brought in to clear this situation up. If the received picture is from a "Sexting" Adult then we take that to the authorities right away. Do not let your child become involved with an adult who is a sexual abuser. - Great piece of advice from my friend @Chick_Tech (Ashley) on Twitter - "Think Twice. Click Once. Would you want your mom/grandma/spouse to see or read it? If no, rethink that click." *** Children must keep in mind that the mistakes they make today online can stay with them for a long time. The Internet is a very unforgiving place. ***

Tips For Noticing / Preventing CyberBullying:

– Just a quick thought to help you understand how significant Bullying and CyberBullying are in a child’s life. According 2 the National Education Association, on any given day, nearly 160,000 children in the U.S. miss school due 2 a fear of being bullied.

– It is easy to say ignore the Bully / CyberBully. In reality for how entrenched our children’s lives are online, just ignoring probably will not be enough, but it is a start. Ignoring will somewhat take the fuel out of the Bully’s fire. So if this is just a senseless act of CyberBullying you, in most cases, have the ability to just block the offending person.

– You don’t want to attack back. This never ever solves anything except adding fuel to a potentially very dangerous fire. We don’t want to become the aggressor or Bully ourselves.

– Children, Please bring the Bullying / CyberBullying to the attention of an adult. Whether it is Mom or Dad or another Trusted Adult.

– Make sure you save the evidence of the Bullying / CyberBullying. Make copies of the screens on Social Network sites. Save the offending text messages. Maybe even keep a journal to write down the times and places Bullying has occurred. This will help you sort your thoughts and keep things clear.

– If you see someone being Bullied or CyberBullied please don’t be a silent ByStander. The person being Bullied is going through many emotions right now and could use a voice to help them through it. If you see offending posts towards someone online or see Bullying n the hall, bring it to a trusted adult’s attention as quickly as possible. You could be saving another child’s life.

Thoughts on The Social Side of The Internet:

– Something to keep in mind is that No matter how Large or Small, the community you live in, Internet Crimes Against Children will be there. There is no prejudice and it is an equal opportunity Threat.
– It is hard for Parents to understand that our Children’s lives, both Physical and Virtual are so intertwined that it is really had for them to really know the difference. Being a part of an Online Social Network like Facebook is just as important to a child as their first School Dance or Going to The Mall.
– In this advocacy we try to get Parents and Children to understand that being a good Digital Citizen is just as important as being a good citizen in your community.
– The Internet is not a docile babysitter as the TV used to be. You children can possibly lead an Internet Predator right to your front door.
– Make sure your children are aware that all information they put online can be used against them. Keep Personal Identity information to a minimum.
– Always try to keep the family PC in a general location where you can peek in on the activities. Your child may not be the most content but when it comes to their safety I put privacy on the back burner a bit.
– When you provide your child with all this wonderful Interconnected technology, IPods, IPhones, Nintendo DS3 and many more, you are giving them the Internet and all of the threats that come with it right in the palm of their hands.
– Be a part of your Child’s online life when possible. Be engaging and interested. They may just surprise you and keep you pretty in tune with what their online activities are.
– Google your Child’s name once in a while just to see what may or may not be being done online by your child. You don’t want to be surprised when someone walks up to you and tells you about your child’s Online activities.
– Familiarize yourself with the technology of The Internet. You don’t have to be an expert to protect your children from online threats.

When you get your child that first laptop, keep in mind it is just a portable PC. The Internet threats are actually compounded by its portability. You can’t always be there when your child is Online with their laptop, so set some ground rules.

Laptop Rules:
– No closed bedroom doors if laptop is in bedroom
– No laptop or portable Internet Connected devices in bedroom after lights out
– Please make sure you communicate with your child to come to you as soon as something uncomfortable happens online.
– Let your child know that you are not going to pull the Internet Plug if mistakes are made. This is a biggie Parents. Children need their online time and if they feel they will lose it because of bringing something to your attention that is questionable you will never see the problem.