Friday, April 27, 2012

Eight Tips to Help Your Child Avoid Online Predators 

It is so important to educate our children about the dangers associated with the Internet, specifically, Online Predators; being knowledgeable about the tactics used by these predators, will go a long way to ensuring their personal safety.  Here are eight tips to keeping your child safe online:
  1.  Establish limits - Tell them which websites they are allowed to visit. If you don't want them visiting Social Networks, then explain this to them, alerting them to the dangers involved. Most teens love these Social Networks and that is usually one of the first things that a teen will do when they have access to a computer, but Social Networks are a major hunting ground for Internet Predators, and they need to understand that.
  2. Surf with your Child - Spend some time understanding the types of places that interests your child and see if you feel that it is safe for them. Do you know a safer site for them, suggest it.
  3. Show them how to keep their personal information private - Kids don't understand the dangers involved when they share their personal information and that is when we need to make sure that they are safeguarding all of their personal information. Real name, phone number, address, email, school information, and gender should not be identifiable. Internet Predators look for children of certain ages, gender, etc; therefore, they unknowingly make themselves targets.
  4. Know who is contacting your child - Who they are talking to online? Do they frequent social networking sites, forums, or play any type of online games? These are all places with chat capabilities and they may have come across a predator and are not even aware of it. Who is on their Buddy list? Ask them to show you. If you have ANY reason to believe that your child may be talking to people that they shouldn't, then please see the products listed in the "Internet Safety Products “section. There are products that can give you a snapshot of the pages your child is frequenting, passwords, keystrokes, chat logs, and you can restrict access to certain websites. They can give you peace of mind.
  5. Ask your child if they have been approached by anyone that made them feel uncomfortable - If there is someone that stands out in their mind, someone who was particularly disturbing, they may feel the need to tell you. I say that they "may" tell you, because your child may be embarrassed of the encounter, or feel that they are in some way responsible. Explain to them that although the Internet can be a great learning tool, it also has a downside; sick individuals whose sole purpose is to prey on the innocence of children.
  6. Alert them to the dangers of a face-to-face meeting with someone they have only met online - Thousands of kids have been kidnapped, sexually assaulted, or even murdered after meeting someone from a chat room. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that our children know the dangers associated with that. They need to understand that people are not always who they seem to be. That is how Internet Predators lure children, by pretending to be another teen, sharing in the same interests, pretending to be understanding to their problems, all the while, gaining their confidence, waiting until it is time to make their move.
  7. Report any sexual images and inappropriate contact - If your child has received sexual images, links to sexual web sites, disturbing emails, or any unwanted and dangerous contact, report them immediately to your local law enforcement, additionally, to the CyberTipline. Do not try to download or save the images, delete them, or move them, as it may destroy the evidence.
  8. Communicate with your child - This is the most important element to keeping your child safe online, and I cannot stress this enough. Make yourself approachable by being understanding, which will make it easier for your child to come to you when they need to. A child is never to blame when someone hurts or harasses them; the perpetrator is the only one at fault.
We are the only ones that can protect our children from the dangers that lurk online. If you keep an open line of communication with your children, then half the battle is won.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What Your Teen Doesn't Want You to Know

 Secrets Revealed

I'm a little fired up this morning, which led to the writing of this post, and I'll tell you why. How many of you watch Dateline's To Catch a Predator series? If you haven't seen it and you have children, then catch the video entitled, "A Reality Check for Parents," located here - Dateline - A Reality Check for Parents

In an anonymous survey, Dateline asked teens between the ages of 14 and 18, questions about their online activity, and the results may terrify you. When asked about whether or not they have talked to a stranger online, only four percent of teens said that they did not chat with someone they did not know. That means that the majority of teens are putting themselves in extreme danger, regardless of the endless hours of lecturing that they are getting from us parents.

Fifty eight percent of teens said a stranger had asked to meet with them. At every minute of every day, predators are searching for a way into our children's lives, and chances are, our children have run across a predator at one time or another.

 Another twenty-nine percent of teens had a scary experience online. I don't even like to think about the different things that have happened to children that have upset and terrified them. We can only imagine, because our children don't always tell us about their experiences, for reasons only known to them. 

Almost half of the children surveyed, also admitted that they share too much of their personal information. The most important rule of Internet Safety is being broken by our teens! What can we do about that? We'll get back to that in a second.

The majority of teens say that they use the computer responsibly, while a high percentage observe other teens being irresponsible online. Ninety percent of those teens who think that they are being responsible online, have no idea what it really means to be responsible, or they wouldn't be chatting with strangers, which ninety six percent of them admitted to doing.

What can we do about this? Well, we all know that teens have admitted to doing things online that their parents wouldn't approve of, so one of the first things we can do is make sure that their bedroom door is open while they are online. If they complain, you can always take the door of the hinges.

If you haven't seen their online profiles lately, go and check them out. Make sure the photos are appropriate, and they are keeping certain information private. Do you know who is on their "friends" list? If not, ask them. If you see something on their online profiles that you don't like, ask them to change it. Don't worry about upsetting your children, we love them and that is why we do what we have to do.

I can't say this enough, and I will never stop saying this, you MUST talk with your children about Internet Safety. I don't care if they are tired of hearing the warnings, or if they roll their eyes at you for the ump-teenth time, you have to let them know that there are sexual predators out there, looking for their prey.

It is NEVER okay to meet someone that they have met online. There are just too many risks involved. Let them watch Dateline's To Catch a Predator series, so that they can see this for themselves. These predators have a single purpose, and that is to sexually assault your child, or worse. Don't let them be another statistic.

Please remember that simply talking with your child is the most effective way you have of keeping them safe. Listen and be understanding when they talk, so that they feel comfortable in talking about things that may be uncomfortable for them.

I'll talk to you again soon. Keep those kids safe!

Tina Mahan

Monday, March 26, 2012

Show Your Support and Promote Child Internet Safety by Ordering These Fabulous Child Internet Safety Items

Show kids the importance of Internet Safety by ordering these new Child Internet Safety Items. Items include T-shirts, mugs, and tote bags! All items have a powerful message for kids imprinted on them. Get yours today!

Protecting Our Children from Internet Predators Cafe Press Shop
My Cafe Press shop is located toward the middle of the page.

My other website contains a huge amount of Child Internet Safety items. For those items, visit this link:
Tina's Child Internet Safety Site - Cafe Press Shop

Active Search Results

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Create Your First Lens at Squidoo

I love Squidoo!

Have you heard of Squidoo? It is a community that allows users to make interesting pages (lenses). When we create a lens, we are called "lens masters" and let me tell you, it is a blast! We can even earn 50% of the revenue made by our lenses, and you don't even have to know anything about HTML. Squidoo is an absolutely wonderful, and supportive community of people and once you make your first lens, you will be hooked!

Why don't you head over there right now - Just click below the image. You will be glad you did.


Child Internet Safety Definitions

Your Guide to Understanding Child Internet Safety Terms

Gain awareness by understanding these common Internet Safety terms


Internet Predator 
  • An adult who uses the Internet to exploit children.
  •  It is usually for a sexual purpose. 
  • They frequent chat rooms and social networking sites looking for children they consider an easy target
  • Targets boys and girls of all ages.
  • Once they have found their target, they start the "grooming" process.
 Child "Grooming"
  • The process of manipulating a child and befriending them in order to draw them into a sexual relationship.
  •  Includes praising the child, giving them money and/or gifts, showing them sexual images, touching them and seeing how they will react, harassment, threats, and any other aggressive behavior.
  • Can involve grooming the parent by gaining their confidence.
  • A Federal offense.

Chat Rooms
  • A place where people go to communicate by sending text messages. 
  • The user can choose a "shared interest" room.
  • Used for talking with multiple people, although, private chats are available.
  •  Chat rooms may or may not be monitored. 
  • Some messaging services allow users to exchange photos, often sexual, which they may be prosecuted for.
  •  Users also choose chat rooms to experience cybersex.
  •  Predators frequent these chat rooms looking for their prey.
Online Identity or User Names 
  • The social identity that we use for online communication.
  • Real names can be used or we can remain anonymous.
  • May be stolen by other users.
  • Can follow us around for a long time, so protect it.
Social Networking Service
  • An online service or site for people to interact and share information and interests.
  • A place to connect with friends.
  • Users can interact with email or instant messaging.
  • Uses profiles with privacy controls.
  • Can be used in personal promotion.
  • Increasing in popularity as a great place for business promotion.
Cyber Bullying
  • Harming other people through use of the Internet.
  • Involves instant messaging, email, chat rooms, web sites, forums, or digital messages.
  • Warning signs include: withdrawal from family and social activities, child is often anxious or sad, declining academic performance, and being upset after being online or using their cell phone.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Internet Predators: Are We Giving Them Easy Access to Our Children?

What is the most popular method a sexual predator now uses to search for potential victims? If you guessed the Internet, then you are correct. Chat rooms and open forums are now the preferred "online hunting grounds" of predators. It is estimated that 20 percent of children who use chat rooms have been approached by a pedophile. However, only one out of four ever tell a parent that they were approached.

Children as young as five or six years old are playing online games which can enable them to interact with other players around the world, but only 50% of those children are being supervised. It can seem harmless to let our children play these games but pedophiles are also attracted to these gaming communities.

Predators are always looking for a way into our children's lives. They educate themselves with what is current in the music and movie industries, and then the majority of them make themselves comfortable in social networking sites, obsessed with finding ways to capture our child's attention.

So many kids have been sent sexual material across the Internet, and have been extremely disturbed by it, yet they don't always mention it to their parents. Children have been threatened and harassed, and they are  afraid. Studies among teens have revealed that many of them have considered meeting someone they have only met online, while a small percentage of those have actually had a face-to-face meeting that their parents were not aware of, despite our countless warnings.

We have to let pedophiles know that we will not tolerate their behavior, but how do we do that if our kids are not confiding in us? There are times that we may have to take a more assertive approach, especially if we see any behavioral changes in our children. It can be as simple as moving a child's computer from their room to the family room, to monitoring  who they are communicating with, by using  programs such as, PC Tattletale or PC Pandora. We have to do whatever it takes to keep our children safe.

Tina Mahan
March 3,2012

Note: For monitoring software such as PC Pandora or PC Tattletale, see my "products" section.
Do you know the warning signs of a child in trouble? You may want to read my newest article at Ezine.
A Parents Guide to Recognizing the Signs of a Child in Trouble.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Are Dangerous Predators Allowed to Walk Our Streets?

I read some stories this morning in the Huffington Post and I was so saddened at the amount of cases that are still unsolved. Parents are in anguish after losing their children and the offenders are still walking free, most likely targeting someone else's child

I don't understand why offenders have any rights at all. I think that people who target and hurt children should be locked away for the remainder of their years. Sexual offenders can't be rehabilitated because they are incapable of feeling remorse. The majority of them continue to hurt children and yet they still have rights under the law. I will never understand that.

Talking about sexual predators made me remember a story of a young girl who was sexually assaulted in my hometown when I was a young teen. A lady knocked on our door one day to use our phone and she was accompanied by a man that gave me the chills.They were there only briefly but the look in his eyes was one I would never forget. I felt evil emanating from him and I was terrified.

A few days later, I saw a report on the news that a young girl had been sexually assaulted and left for dead in an orange grove. A manhunt was under way for the suspect and his picture was shown. An icy chill went through my body as I looked at the man that was in my house briefly a few days before.

The female that had used our phone had actually let that man stay in their house, despite the fact that she had an eight year old daughter living there. The mother left her daughter in the care of the offender while she went to a bar, and the offender took her out into an orange grove where he raped her and assaulted her with a glass object, which was then purposely broken inside of her. The little girl crawled through a mile of orange grove to a house where she received help.

Needless to say, the little girl's body was so damaged that she could never have children. She was not returned to her parents, thank goodness, and instead placed in the system. Her parents, which were drug users, were only charged with simple child endangerment. What kind of justice is that? I think about that little girl from time to time, wondering how she is, hoping that she is able to have some peace in her life.

The offender was caught, convicted, and sentenced to an unbelievably short term of six years in the state penitentiary. He damaged and destroyed a young child, yet he had the "right" to enter society again after he served his time. It is so hard to have faith in a justice system that believe offenders are entitled to a second chance.

Thank you for listening. I'm working on my next post which will be entitled, "Internet Predators: Are We Giving Them Easy Access to Our Children?" I think it's incredibly important to inform people about the ways predators use the Internet and chat rooms to interact with our children, and the more we understand those ways, the better we can protect our children from encountering these predators. Talk soon!

 Tina Mahan

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why are Sexual Predators Allowed Their Freedom?

Sexual predators don't feel any remorse for what they have done. They prey on children that have low self-esteem, having family problems at home, and they manipulate them, destroying that child and their families. Why is the justice system so easy on these criminals? Why are they given a second chance when the victim has no chance of starting over?