any discussion of risks, it's important to realize
that the most horrendous crimes are also the least
likely to happen. As with all aspects of life,
the risk should be put into context. Statistically,
probably the greatest risk is that a child will
encounter people in chat rooms and newsgroups
who are mean or unpleasant. Another "risk"
is that a child will spend a lot of wasted time
in areas that aren't very productive.
Although not very likely, there is a slight risk
that, while online, a child might provide information
or arrange an encounter that could risk his or
her safety or the safety of family members. In
a few cases, pedophiles have used e-mail, bulletin
boards and chat areas to gain a child's confidence
and then arrange a face-to-face meeting.
to Inappropriate Material:
An obvious risk is that a child may be exposed
to inappropriate material: material that is sexual,
hateful, violent in nature, or encourages dangerous
or illegal activities.
Alcohol, Tobacco and other Dangers:
Some web sites and newsgroups contain information
that advocates the use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol.
It's even possible to find places on the Internet
where you can learn to make bombs or obtain weapons.
There are no known cases as yet, where a child
has committed an act of violence or used a substance
as a result of going online. Yet, with a resource
as vast and as uncontrolled as the Internet, you're
bound to find all sorts of information, good and
A child might encounter e-mail, chat or bulletin
board messages that are harassing, demeaning,
or abusive. This risk may not be life threatening,
but it could affect a child's self esteem and
is more than likely to occur at one time or another
to any child who engages in chat rooms or exchanges
messages on bulletin boards, so you should be
aware that this happens.
There is also the risk that a child could do something
that has negative legal or financial consequences,
such as giving out a parent's credit card details
or doing something that violates another person's
rights. Legal issues aside, children should be
taught good manners on the Internet and to behave
online as they would in public and to avoid being
rude, mean or inconsiderate to other users.
Children should be cautioned to never give out
their passwords to anyone even if the person claims
to work for an Internet service provider. When
in doubt, tell children to ask permission. You
should also know the provider's policy regarding
passwords (most Internet Service Providers' staff
will never ask a member for their password). There
is a risk that an Internet account could be misused
or stolen by obtaining a user's password.
Children have a right to privacy. Everything about
them: their name, age, what school they go to,
is the personal business of them and their families.
No one, including reputable companies, have a
right to extract this information from children
without first checking with the child's parents.
Gambling: There are sites that allow people to
gamble with real money or just "for fun."
In some cases these sites may be operating legally
in the jurisdiction where they are physically
located but it is generally illegal (and inappropriate)
for minors to gamble regardless of where they
are. Although most online gambling sites require
a person to use a credit card or write a check
to transfer funds.
that your involvement in your child's online life,
is by far the best insurance you can have of their
Engines offers your child two opposite roads,
selecting the right one is in your hands.
Surf Better, Surf Safer…