Chow-E-Chowz Expressions 
Kids Have A Voice

Chow-E-Chowz Expressions

Internet Safety

The Internet has become a death trap for many teenagers and child alike. Social Networking is everywhere. You find parents, business workers and even the elderly using social media  for various reasons. Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn are just a few social media sites that teens have access to. Social Networking is available to people around the world that your teens does not know. With advance technology, the door is wide open to cyber crime.
 
As more teens and children alike are introduced to such technology, they become prime targets for cyber danger. Many teens who are introduced to social networking have little or no experience about the dangers that awaits them. Therefore, they type in private information about themselves exposing their true identity without giving it a second thought. Such information as, their name, age, home address, the school they attend and describing themselves to a person they do not know. These teens begin to form a false bond with the predator, and become prime targets for a potential kidnapping. What's sad is that the parents have no idea what their child is doing on the internet because the teens these days seem to know more about the internet than the parent. This put's the parent at a great disadvantage leaving the door open for the predator to lure the child in.
It is important that you as a parent take social networking courses so that you can find out what your child has a potential of getting into over the internet. Learn the use of chat rooms and even check out some of the singles sites. Many teens who are desperate and lonely, may even turn to the single networking sites to find love. It is very easy for a teen to lie about their age on the internet along with other information about who they are and fool the system. This is why you must have a good relationship with your teens by getting involved in their lives in hopes to protect them from the dangers that awaits them on the internet.
 
Should I snoop around my teens personal affairs in their bedroom or should I just trust that my child is a good kid? A minor has no personal affairs when it comes to their safety. You're not snooping, as a concerned parent/guardian, you are checking for signs of potential risk of danger. In order to monitor what your child is doing on the internet, it is best that the computer your child use is in full sight where others can use or monitor. By putting a computer in your child's bedroom, makes it easy for the child to access websites they should not be on without your knowledge or consent. A child could close and lock the door to their bedroom giving them complete privacy to secretly go on any website that could lead to danger.  There is also the issue of the internet use on cell phones. I suggest that you get a cell phone plan on their phone that does not allow internet access until they are mature and educated about the use of the internet. Learn how to block certain websites that pose a potential risk to your child. Remember, this is not invading their privacy, you are protecting your child's life.
 
Set an age limit as to when a child is able to get on the internet. I believe if a child is under the age of 14, they should not have use of the internet without the parent’s supervision. This is only my opinion, your opinion may be different.
Be careful about the information you share on Facebook. No one should know that you are out of town or where you are. Many people upload vacation photos of where they are, not knowing that a thief or predator is out their looking for the opportunity to rob or even kidnap your child which could lead to death. This is not just for teens but anyone using Facebook or other social networking websites. Wait until you return from your vacation to upload photos to share with your friends where you have been. No one needs to know everything about you at all times or all the places you've been. If not careful, a potential predator can study your profile and life style patterns or activities to learn more about you with the hopes of luring you in.
 
Social Networking can be used to make friends and find romance. You just have to keep in mind that many of these sites can be misused and we must do everything we possibly can to teach our teens how to protect their privacy and their reputation. Think twice before you disclose any information about yourself.
 
Setting boundaries
 
It is important that you learn to set boundaries for yourselves and for your kids. If you don't, this can put your child in the hands of a predator. Just because a person is nice to you does not mean you can trust the person. I found out online, a person can say or be whatever they want to be. These predators are very skillful at what they do and are very patient when it comes to trapping their prey. Once they gain your trust, the predators know just what to do to trap you or your child. If your child is not educated or aware of the dangers that are online, your child can slip right into the hands of a predator without your knowledge and you may never see your child again.
Tell your child under no circumstances are they to give out personal information and where they live or attend school to a stranger online. 
 
If you give your child permission to join a social network, find out who their online friends are. Investigate the social network they are interested in becoming a part of to make sure that particular website has excellent safety methods to protect your child.
 
Tell the child not to give out their password to anyone.

Be sure as a parent, you know the password to every social site your child is signed up with.
Know what your child's user name is. Read over your teens profile and the profile of their friends and check it often. Monitor the number of times your child is on the social networking site and set a limit for the number of times they can use the internet.
 
Communicate with your child always. Spend time getting to know your child and find out what is going on in their world. Never stop communicating. If your child refuses to communicate, keep trying until you get a break-through. You need to know what is going on in your child's life and how they are feeling about certain things that perhaps concerned to you as a teenager. The only way you will know what's going on is by asking questions in hopes of getting the right answers.
 

Tell your child, a person online should never ask them to keep a secret or ask your child not to share certain information with a parent or friends.

 
Private chat-rooms are off limits if the child is not old enough or cannot be trusted.   
 
 
Monitor The behavior of your child

Monitor the behavior of your child when they are online and when they get off line. If their behavior is abnormal and you sense a potential dangerous situation, talk to your child and seek immediate help.  Copy all the chats if needed to a Word document and delete your child's profile and close the account. Print or email the information to the proper Authorities and follow their instructions. No child's life is worth losing. Your child could be at the potential risk of cyber bullying.

What is Cyber-bullying?

The Wikipedia states that Cyber-bullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm or harass other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. [1] As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it.
 
Educating the kids about the consequences (losing their ISP or IM accounts) helps. Teaching them to respect others and to take a stand against bullying of all kinds helps too.
 
If cyber bullying is the case, notify the proper authorities if you foresee a potential risk. Many teens have died at the hand of cyber bullying and should not be taken lightly. It is easy for the person on the other end to bully others because its non-confrontational and they tend to be bolder and less prohibited to say things that otherwise would be frowned upon. This can escalate when others join in to target one particular person saying mean things online which in many cases have led to suicide in children, teens and adults.
 
Parents need to be the one trusted place kids can go when things go wrong online and offline. Yet they often are the one place kids avoid when things go wrong online. Kids feel that the parent may over react. It is import parents that you support your child or teen while they are dealing with cyber-bullying. Notify the principle or teachers at school if the person(s) attend the same school your child does. The principle and teacher’s needs to be made aware that the kids in their school are cyber-bullying your child. The teacher and the principle can take immediate action by notifying the parents of the kid’s that are doing the cyber-bullying. Hopefully this will stop the kid’s from cyber-bullying your child.

Should social media be avoided?

 
 No social media does not have to be completely avoided. However, the more awareness your child is about the potential threats and dangers, the more protection your child has against the online dangers. Be on guard when it comes to your teen’s use of the internet. Don't turn your back to social networking. Get as much education you can to learn the good and the bad about social networking to give yourself and your child heads up on what's going on in the social networking world. As I stated before, social media does not have to be completely avoided, however, you and your child must be aware of the social media dangers that exist in order to give your child a fighting chance to live safely.
 
 
HOW TO REPORT CYBER-BULLYING ON FACEBOOK
 
Instructions
 
Report a person for bullying behavior by pointing your browser to his profile. Either enter his name in the search field at the very top of Facebook to find his profile, or click on his name next to one of his posts.
 
Scroll down to the bottom of his friend list in the left column of the screen. Click the blue "Report/Block This Person" link.
 
Select "This person is bullying or harassing me" as the reason for your report. Click the circle immediately to the left of the option to select it. Click "Continue" to send the report.
 
Report a specific post as bullying by hovering your mouse over the post and clicking on the "x" in the upper right corner of the post.
 
Click "Report as Abuse" from the menu. Choose "It's harassing me" or "It's harassing a friend" by clicking on the circle next to the appropriate response and then click "Continue" to send the report.
 
 HOW TO REPORT CYBER-BULLYING ON TWITTER
 
 
I'm reporting an abusive user
 
Please fill out all the fields below so we can review your report.
 
For more information and resources on dealing with abusive users both on the internet and on Twitter, please review this article.
 
How can we help?
 
Someone on Twitter is posting my private information.
 
Someone on Twitter is being abusive.
 
Someone on Twitter is sending me violent threats.
 
If an interaction has gone beyond the point of name calling and you feel as though you may be in danger, contact your local authorities so they can accurately assess the validity of the threat and help you resolve the issue offline.
 
If someone means you harm, just removing the threatening statements does not make the issue go away.