There is a helpful article in today’s edition (2-17-09) of the Gainesville Sun by Ashley Ross which gives us insight into how we can protect our kids from sexual predators on the computer. Keith Dunn, a former detective and member of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, shares some helpful hints about internet safety. The article cites these five suggestions by Dunn to protect your kids: 1. Communicate–Keep open the lines of communication with your children about the internet. If you allow your kids to be online (this is debatable, depending on their age) create a contract of times they are allowed to be online. 2. Monitor your family online–keep the computer in a public place in the home, not allowing family members to be online in private. 3. Watch out for Cyber bullying—it may be easy to ignore, but it needs to be reported, the article says. 4. Be careful posting personal information—Dunn says that sites such as MySpace and Facebook can be dangerous if you include info such as where you plan to go and when. He even says that putting your last name on the site should be avoided. 5. Use Caution with webcams, pictures—as technology increases these features on our computers can be used by the predators. Dunn says that there is software that will turn on your webcam without you knowing it.
Although I don’t know everything that Dunn teaches on this issue, I do feel that this article brings this important issue to our attention. Every family has to decide how it will tackle this problem. I would encourage believers to exercise extreme restraint in allowing their children access to the internet. The risk is too high. Even though there are many benefits we enjoy with online activities, we risk too much when we don’t monitor our computers in our homes.