The Internet: an asset with dangersWisconsin Sex Offender Registry specialist Joseph Fitzpatrick took the opportunity of last week’s public information meeting to warn those present about dangers that exist online, especially for children. He presented the following information.
Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry specialist Joseph Fitzpatrick took the opportunity of last week’s public information meeting to warn those present about dangers that exist online, especially for children. He presented the following information.
The average age children are exposed to pornography is 8; before the Internet, it was 15.
A national survey of 1,500 children between the ages of 10 and 17 show that one-fourth were exposed to inappropriate material. One in five respondents said they received a sexual solicitation and one in 33 an aggressive solicitation. Only 3 percent is reported.
What can you do to minimize the chances of an online exploiter victimizing your child?
• Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential online danger.
• Spend time with your children online. Have them teach you about their favorite online destinations.
• Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household.
• Use parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should use these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.
• Smart kids can find a way to bypass the filter programs. Just let them know you’re watching!
• Always maintain access to your child’s online account and randomly check his/her email. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.
• Teach your child the responsible use of the resources online. There is much more to the online experience than chat rooms.
• Find out what computer safeguards are used by your child’s school, the public library and at the homes of your child’s friends. These are all places, outside your normal supervision, where your child could encounter an online predator.
• Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual exploitation, that he/she is not at fault and is the victim. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his or her actions.
Instruct your children: