Your Child and the Internet

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

The arrest of a Lauderdale County school teacher on sex charges is shining the light on the problem of cyber crime. The Internet can be a good thing, but how can you help protect your child from Internet predators?

"I can think with my own children the use of being able to go their textbook and pull up additional math work, for example," said Lauderdale County Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun. "There's a dark side to the Internet and a dangerous side where people can get hooked into pornography and can do social networking sites where children sometimes present themselves as a different person."

Children may be the easiest to victimize on the Internet. As a parent, there are things you can do to help keep your children from being victims of crimes that start there.

Problems often arise from social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace among others. It's easy for kids to come across people they don't know.

Make sure you know where your kids are going on the Web. Check out the sites they visit frequently, and keep an eye on whom they are communicating.

"Many cases that are brought to law enforcement's attention are done through the use of the parent having been viewing and keeping up with what their young person is doing on the Internet," Calhoun said.

There are some warning signs to watch out for such as changes in behavior, a decrease in academic performance, mail or gifts from people you do not know, phone calls to and from numbers you don't know, and an increase in the amount of time spent online, especially at night. They may even turn off the computer or change the screen when you are nearby.

"The thing about the Internet is it appears to be so anonymous, but it's really not," said Calhoun. "Many people think that the things they put there are only going to be seen by one individual, and that's not the case."

Here are a few other warning signs, courtesy of the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, that may be causes for concern. If your child:
Spends large amounts of time on the Internet
Has questionable pictures
Gets calls from strangers

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  • by LCSD Teacher Location: LauderdalenCO on Aug 4, 2009 at 10:35 AM
    This also apllies to bullying, sexual, racial harassment etc... Parents, please check your child's computer and cell phones. I know you want to trust them; however, they are at a very vunerable age, no matter how mature parents and teachers may think they act. Teachers, if you see or hear something that seems suspicious let the parents know. Parents, if a teacher does call you about a concern, that is what it is, work with them not against them. We care about your children and want you to be able to check it out before it becomes a major issue. Please do not think the teacher is trying to get your child in trouble, if that is what they were wanting to do they would report the issue to the principal or even law enforcement, which in some cases may be required by law. If parents and teachers can work together we can all make our schools a place we are children feel safe and can learn without fear of harassment.
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