Your children & Internet safety
The Bethany Beach Police Department is committed to protecting your children online. Here are some questions to ask yourself when it comes to Internet safety and your child.
Does your child spend lots of time online?
Most children that fall victim to computer sex offenders spend a lot of time online, particularly in chat rooms. With more parents working outside the home, many kids are unsupervised after school and during the evening. Kids like to go online to chat with friends and pass time. Many offenders work during the day and spend their time online in the evenings trying to locate and lure vulnerable children.
What happens if I find pornography on my childs computer?
Pornography is often used in the victimization of children. Supplying children with pornographic pictures serves as a means of opening discussions for seduction. Child pornography may be used to show the child sex between children and adults is normal. Be conscious of the fact that a child may hide the pornographic files on disks, especially if the computer is used by other family members.
Does your child turn the monitor off or quickly change the screen when someone enters the room?
A child looking at pornographic images or having sexually explicit conversations online does not want you to see it on the screen.
Has your child become withdrawn from the family?
Computer sex offenders will work diligently to drive a wedge between a child and his family in order to exploit the relationship. The offender will focus on any minor problems the child may be having at home. Children often become withdrawn after sexual victimization.
Is your child using an online account belonging to someone else?
Even if you don't subscribe to an online service your child may meet an offender while online somewhere else. Most computers are preloaded with online and/or Internet software. Some computer sex offenders will provide potential victims with a computer account for communications only with them.
Minimize the Chances of Someone Exploiting Your Child Online
- Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Warn them about the dangers of computer sex offenders.
- Periodically review what is on your child's computer. If you don't know how, enlist the help of a friend, coworker, or other knowledgeable person.
- Consider subscribing to features like Caller ID and Call Blocking to identify incoming calls and deter unwanted calls from reaching your child.
- Monitor your child's access to all types of live electronic communications - chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat, etc. and monitor your child's email. Computer sex offenders almost always meet their victims in chat rooms, and continue the relationship via email.
- Spend time with your children online. Have them teach you about their favorite online destinations.
- Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom.
- Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.
- Find out what computer safeguards are used by your child's school, the public library, and the homes of your child's friends. These are all places, outside your supervision, where your child could encounter an online predator.
For more information regarding the Bethany Beach Police Department’s crime prevention services contact Sgt. Jason Riddle at (302) 539.1000.