Q: Is it safe for kids to be on those chat rooms?
This is a very popular
pass-time for kids and grown ups too. Like
most activities, it’s best to be aware of the pitfalls and to have clear
guidelines to stay safe on the internet.
I recently attended a presentation on internet safety by Christine
Gregoire, Washington State Attorney General, that was very informative and a
little shocking. Here’s some of
the main points:
There are serious
pitfalls. There are predators who
specifically target teen chat areas, often posing as girls.
The anonymity of the web allows stalkers, sex offenders and scam
artists to come in contact with children more easily.
Here’s some shocking statistics for children aged 10-17:
in 5 received a sexual solicitation
in 33 were aggressively solicited. In these cases a solicitor asked to
meet them, called them, or sent mail or gifts
in 4 had unwanted exposure to pictures of naked people or sexual activity
in 17 where threatened or harassed.
learning the big negatives that can result from internet contact, students
developed their own internet safety tips.
Here’s a few from a 7th grade class:
Never give out your real name when signing up for email service
Don't tell the truth about yourself in a profile
If someone tries to talk to you and you don't know them - don't respond;
don't communicate with them.
Fill out only what you have to - nothing is better.
Don't make people angry
more complete information check out Christine Gregoire’s web site which has
a wealth of information on keeping our kids safe on the internet: www.wa.gov/ago
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- July 2003. Copyright Tonna Kutner