We all know the Internet is a constantly growing educational resource for children and can be a positive experience. Millions of children surf the Internet for school and entertainment every day.
Children also communicate through e-mails, chat rooms and public message boards. That's the good news about the Internet. The bad news is unsupervised, the Internet can be dangerous, exposing our children to predators and inappropriate material.
According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, one in five children receive unwanted sexual solicitations online and 70 percent of these unwanted solicitations happen on a home computer. The survey also found that most families who have youth who use the Internet regularly do not use filtering or blocking software.
Exposure to inappropriate materials and harassment are only a few of the safety issues parents must be aware of today when they have children who are using the Internet. Child safety on the Internet has become an ever-increasing problem facing parents, students, teachers and law enforcement. We as adults have a responsibility to provide our children with access to various types of learning experiences through hands-on experiences. Using the Internet has and/or will continue to become a very vital part of our children’s day to day lives. In providing access to resource, we must also provide guidance and guidelines for the various hazards that can be encountered when using this medium.
The Internet is known to be an untamed frontier. The rules and etiquette are evolving from those who use it. You can find unparalleled richness in human expression and the opportunity to obtain information from all sources which at one time was only available to a few. The quality of information and the behavior of individuals on the Internet vary. As members of this vast new electronic community, you and your family must ask yourselves how you will contribute to make it a safer environment for all users.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers a free brochure to parents entitled "Child Safety on the Information Highway". NCMEC offers electronic versions of this brochure and other helpful information for parents. The Toledo Police Department also encourages parents to use filtering software to screen out adult sites on the Web. If your child has an unsettling experience while surfing the 'Net", please contact the police department immediately. Also, if you have a question concerning Internet safety or are concerned about what sites your child may be visiting on the net, please contact the police department. We have personnel trained in computer forensics that can provide you with information and answers regarding any concern you may have.