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Child Health Chat, Issue #014 -- Internet Safety for Tween and Teens
June 23, 2013

Striving For A Happy Childhood

Hello There,
Summer holidays are through!
Children will be back to school.
And until parents return tween and teens are often alone at home with an easy access to internet.

Why so much hype about internet safety for children?
Isn't it an innocent activity children enjoy safe in homes?
Computers along with internet are being used in all work places, and even for school learning programs. In modern times, earlier children learn to explore media the better, for so much information lies out there on internet; educational, researches, information on new releases, cultural changes, fashion trends and more.

True of course!
But don’t we guard children’s encounter with strangers?
Children have always been cautioned to be wary of strangers.
For fear of kidnappers and child molestation, parents’ vigilant eyes follow their children through zoos, bazars, amusement parks and clubs, which through internet have now entered our very safe fortress; the home.

Don't be afraid.
Enforce internet safety for children!

The article of the month: Internet Safety for Tween and Teens
And lots more for you to be forearmed.
Take care!!!

Table of Contents


Internet Safety for Tween and Teens

Internet Perpetrators

Child Health News

Brain Changes in Abused Children

Food Addiction: Squeal of Child Abuse

Pearls From The Forums

Sudden Weight Gain

Effects of Lack of Sleep on Child Health

Important Links and Need to Know Information

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Internet Safety for Tween and Teens

Virtual road to jungle of information on the web is no less dangerous than that little Red Riding Hood encountered on a real one. Predators trail children’s all moves, also those on internet.

Impressive imposing internet mediated telecommunication has made predators' reach remarkably easy, relentless and right inside the homes into valuable information of children’s activity.

Most tween and teens have access to chat rooms, gaming forums and social networking sites. It is from these sites predators capture children's personal information.

Tween and teens post information like where they live, the school they attend, their likes and so on without a second thought and open to all, which predators use to establish connection and win trust of children - their prey.

Tell-tale signs of child at risk

• Spends long hours online

• On social sites at late hours

• Uses online account belonging to someone else.

• Accesses internet from friend’s house.

• Gets withdrawn from the family.

• Secretive attitude; evades interrogation.

• Turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen.

• Pornography on child's computer.

• Receives phone calls from unknown.

• Receives mails and/or gifts from unknown.

How do children get into such danger, they just talk to friends online?

Puberty initiated hormonal surge makes teenagers naturally inquisitive about all that can be linked to sex. Impressed by internet ambiguity, they dare into dangerous interaction with strangers, the virtual friends on internet.

The catch is -
• The ambiguity of net is itself ambiguous.
• Online friends are also hidden behind internet ambiguity.
• E-friends may not be who they pose to be.
• Predator is not necessarily fit usual impression of an ugly, wicked old man.

Online predators are well groomed and well informed individuals.

People of all age groups and of either sex impress children online with their knowledge on latest movies, music, and teenage trends and hit at the right cord of child’s interest and the communication gains tempo.

Online predators are just a click away from child’s reach; generous with time, compliments and gifts. Their unwavering empathy wins child’s confidence, respect and affection.

The inhibition diminishes and children then begin to confide more and more in their online friend. The friend extracts more intimate information, finds out their unsatisfied desires and unresolved curiosities, and thereby gradually bring in topic of sex in the communication, suggest sharing of phone numbers, exchanging pictures and meeting in person. At the least hint of parental objection, predators do not miss the chance to create a rift between the children and their parents.

Enforce internet safety

Internet safety is crucial. Cyber bullying, abduction, sexting and sexual exploitation are common threats to children who indulge in uncontrolled long hours on internet.

Predators are alert round the clock for prey hunt, but
children who are online during late evenings are noted to be more endangered: Probably because it shows that they have reasons to feel lonely.

Some sites even use Malware (Mal - malicious; Ware - software), a computer contaminant that can gather important information from the computer.

Internet safety tips that children, tween and teens must observe

• For screen name, do not include personal information like your last name or date of birth.

• Do not ever share online your identifying information like name, age, home, whereabouts, school details or phone numbers without parents’ consent, and never in chat rooms or on bulletin boards.

• Do not share your picture with someone online, especially not in chat rooms and never without parents’ permission.

• Never open an email from stranger or someone you have only met online: It may contain malware or viruses that can extract information from your computer and also damage the computer systems.

• Do not view or download pictures sent to you by the strangers or someone you have only met online.

• Your passwords is very private: Except parents, do not disclose it to anyone.

• Tell an adult you are absolutely sure of, if someone on internet or in person is mean or is threatening you.

• Stop communicating with the person who makes you feel uncomfortable, scares you or threatens you in any way.

• Inform your trusted parent right away if anything you have read or seen on the net has made you uncomfortable.

• Do not meet your online friends in person, certainly not without your parents’ permission.

• Do not respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive of moral looseness, creepy, obscene, hostile, aggressive or harassing.

• All children read on net may not be true, nor all people on net really are what they pose to be.

• Some online ads are way to collect personal information; consult parents before making online purchases.

What can parents do to implement child internet safety?

• Spend time with your children.

• Have your child to educate you on different internet sites and his/her favorites: Most parents are not even aware of the sites that their children visit.

• Keep a track of your child’s digital footsteps online; monitor your child's live electronic communications; chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat etc.

• Regularly scan through your child's e-mail: Internet perpetrators, after establishing adequate contact with potential victim in chat rooms, may communicate further via personal e- mail.

• Be upfront with your child about checking his/her mail and tracking internet trail. Intermittently discuss openly if any suspicious online activity is noted.

• Explain children your fears: Danger of internet perpetrators; top it up with facts to impress that your concerns are real.

• Review what is on your child's computer: If need be educate yourself more on computer systems to know how to find out. Any kind of sexual communication or pornography on your child’s computer or on internet trail is a cause for alarm.

• Check if child contacts any stranger (a friend you don’t know):

i. Children are often provided with a toll-free 800 numbers by internet predator, so that they can reach them without the parents finding out.

ii. Children are advised to use call collect system.

By both of the above mentioned methods the internet predator is successful in procuring the child's phone number and more personal details thereby.

• Keep a track of who calls on your home or on your child’s mobile phone:

i. Have caller ID installed on your phones, and monitor who talks to your child in your absence.

ii. Get your telephone service provider block your number from appearing in other's caller ID.

iii. You can also opt for telephone service feature that allows you to block incoming calls from the phone numbers you think could be suspicious. Thereby the predators or anyone else is prevented from calling your home anonymously.

iv. Devices to show dialed telephone numbers can too be installed: For more on telephone safety devices please contact your service providing company.

• Do not give your child a separate computer: Have a common computer in your sitting room.

• Check on the computer safeguards your child’ school, public library and friends utilize.

• Inform law enforcement agency at the earliest if –

i. Children, you or any other person in your house has been sent child pornography material.

ii. Child under 18 years of age has received sexual solicitations online or otherwise.

iii. Child has received sexually explicit images from someone online or in person.

• Preserve the evidences for the law enforcement agency:

i. Turn off the computer and keep it safely turned off in order to preserve the evidences, in event of perceived need to draw attention of law enforcement agencies.

ii. Never attempt to copy any of the images and/or text found on the computer, unless directed to do so by the law enforcement agency.

Click here for "Parent Guide to Internet Safety" by FBI.
Is it getting overwhelming?
Don't be!
Post your concerns and Get Your Answer for Free

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Child sexual abuse is frighteningly common all over the world and in all socio-economic groups. Internet perpetrator’s manipulate children to win their confidence. Even children from victim’s intimate environment could be perpetrators.
Continue reading....

Click here for an awesome awareness on Peers: Why They Do What They Do

News on Child Health

Brain Changes in Abused Children
By attribute of neuronal plasticity, stimuli from abusive experiences; sexual, emotional and physical, are blocked: Probably an innate mechanism to instantly shield children from abusive sensory inputs. The regional specific neuronal development in the brain in response to unpleasant inputs is thereby thinned out.
Must read!!!

Food Addiction: Squeal of Child Abuse
Children who experience physical or sexual abuse develop food addiction as adult.
Find your answer here.

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Pearls From The Forums

Sudden Weight Gain
Inappropriate weight gain in children is a cause of alarm.
There are several causes of weight gain in children.
Wondering what you should do?
Read to find how...

Effects of Lack of Sleep on Child Health
Being online till late hours hampers much needed sleep. Moreover, online sexual solicitations also disturb child's sleep and lead to undesirable consequences on child's health.
click here for more...

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I will be back soon with the next issue of "Child Health Chat".
Take care!

With Best Regards,

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