Risks To Children Online

Although no one disputes that there are some pretty nasty things on the Internet, most of the web falls into the "good" category. We want to make you careful about surfing the Web, not scare you away from it entirely.

While the risk posed by people trying to meet our children offline is one of the most serious, there are many less serious but more common risks our children face online. These include access to information that may be inappropriate for children, sites related to illegal activities, and sites that pose risks to their privacy.

Even though pornography and sexual content are receiving most of the attention, there are other kinds of inappropriate information accessible which may be at least as harmful to your children as being exposed to sexually explicit content. We will not only be educating you on these risks but also how to try to prevent them.

There are also risks your children (and their friends) may pose to others in cyberspace, including you.

What kind of risks exist online?

There are the risks of your child accessing inappropriate information. This includes access to information that may be inappropriate for children generally, sites that sell contraband or advocate illegal activities, and sites that pose risks to their privacy.

There are also sites which show graphic and inappropriate pornography and sexual content which our children can easily access. And there are sites with tobacco and alcohol advertisements, bomb-building sites, sites that advocate taking drugs, as well as sites that contain violence and gore, misinformation, and hate literature.

Some sites even sell guns, drugs, poisons, or alcohol, or let your kids gamble online. Others collect and sell private information about your kids and your family, and use unfair interactive marketing strategies that target our cybertots.

These things may be far more dangerous to your children than being exposed to sexually explicit content. And, since we're here to discuss risks and how to avoid them, we need to warn you about the dangers your children (and their friends) may pose to others in cyberspace, including you.

They may give out your credit card information or passwords, share private information about you and your family, buy things and charge them to you, infringe copyrights, commit computer crimes, and access, lose, or destroy your files.

In some cases, they may not even know they're doing it, but the dangers are just as real. Finally, there are risks that viruses and hackers pose to your computer.

Lots of things to think about. But WiredSafety provides help, information, resources, education and tech tools and solutions for all of them. Don't worry. (You'll notice Parry says that a lot when addressing parents. Hope it's working.)