Safety On The Internet

Shut out online predators.

Minimize Risks
Be sure you:

  1. Discuss with your child which online content and activities are and are't OK.
    • Ask to see your child's favorite Web sites.
    • Chat rooms, networking sites, e-mail and instant messages are just some of the ways people interact online.
  2. Set rules for when your child can be online and for how long.
  3. Discuss with your child that they should never meet an online friend in person.
    • Make sure they tell you if someone suggests meeting with them.
  4. Discuss with your child that they should not share any personal information online.
    • This includes a blog or personal profile.
  5. Review sites visited by checking the browser's history log.
    • Know your child's passwords and screen names.
  6. Look into software and "parental controls" for limiting online activities.
    • For example, ask your service provider for advice.
  7. Put the computer where you can keep an eye on its use - not in your child's bedroom.
  8. Report any offensive, threatening or sexual material to your Internet service provider,, and law enforcement (if criminal).
    • Keep any evidence.

Could an online sexual redator target you?

  1. It's possible. And it's preventable.
  2. Sexual predators cruise the Web. They look for young people to sexually abuse. In fact, anyone who uses the Internet can become a target of a sexual preator!
  3. What are you sharing onling? If it's personal, it can put you at risk. Sexual predators look at personal profiles, e-mails and web sites to find targets.
  4. Sexual predators lie. Once they find a target, sexual predator may pretend to be a different age, race or gender in order to gain your trust.

What sexual predators don't want you to know:

  1. Predators target or choose teens to abuse through:
    • Chat rooms. They can "listen in" while you talk to friends. They may also visit other sites - like bulletin boards or news groups - that are popular with young people.
    • Web sites. They look for personal facts - like your name, hobbies or places you go, such as your school or the mall. Predators search "social networking" sites for these details or other small "clues" to gather information.
    • E-mail or IM. Sexual predators might send you flattering messages to get you to like them. they may:
      • lie about having the same interests as you do
      • give you attention and compliments
      • send you pictures or presents
      • pretend to care about you

Predators have a process. (And it usually follows the same pattern.)

  1. They pick out a target. Sexual predators may use details from your profile to contact you. Then, they may use e-mail or IM to start the process.
  2. They introduce sex. Usually this happens once predators have gained your trust. Sexual predators may be subtle at first by hinting at sex or by sending you sexual pictures.
  3. They get aggressive. Sexual predators can also be more pushy - expecially over time. They may:
    • talk about sex in more detail
    • ask you to talk about sex
    • discourage you from trusting anyone but them
    • ask you to meet in person
    • try to make sexual contact with you.

How can you stay safer from sexual predators on the Web:


  1. Play by the rules. If your parent or schools sets limits on your Internet use, stick to them. For example, you may have rules about:
    • the types of sites you can visit (never lie about your age to get on an age-restricted site)
    • what kind of stuff you can share online
      • Personal details - your phone and Social Security numbers, address, full name, age and name of school or school team - are private. Keep the off the Internet!

Dealing with online danger:

If someone sends you a sexual picture or message:

  1. Don't respond to it. Writing back via e-mail, IM or in a chat room may encourage the sender to do it again.
  2. Seek help from a trusted adult. A parent or guardian can help you figure out how to hankle a problem. You don't need to feel embarrassed - just talking it out can help you feel better.
  3. Report the incident! And adult can help you report any inappropriate material on the Internet. You should also report anyone who bullies, threatens or harasses you.

You can help make the Internet safer.

Report any strange or inappropriate activity to:

  1. Your local or state law enforcement agency
  2. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  3. Your Internet service provider
  4. the Webmaster of a Web site where it appears.

Check out these Internet safety links:

  1., a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploitedd Children and Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  2., a site maintained by the Federal Trade Commision
  3., a resource for parents and young people.

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