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But instant messaging, chat rooms, emails and social networking sites can also bring trouble - from cyberbullying to more serious Internet dangers, including exposure to sexual predators.
How savvy are you about keeping your child or teenager safe online?
In the age of You Tube, a website that hosts videos shot by users, "Kids are looking for their 15 megabytes of fame," Aftab says. If it's a one-time thing, try to ignore the bully and block future contact, she says.
"They do it to show that they're big enough, popular enough, cool enough to get away with it." Often, kids don't tell parents they're being cyberbullied; they're afraid their parents will overreact or yank Internet privileges, Aftab adds. But if the cyberbullying involves any physical threat, you may need to call the police.
"If you get the monitoring software, put it on the computer and forget that it's there," Aftab says.
That way, if someone's viewing porn, you'll have the records to deal with it.
Internet Safety Tips Some tips from for responding to cyberbullying: The online world opens the door for trusting young people to interact with virtual strangers - even people they'd normally cross the street to avoid in real life.
Cyberbullying differs from schoolyard bullying, Handy says. "When it happens online, there's no one to filter it," she says.The Cyber Tipline helps prevent sexual exploitation of children by reporting cases of kids enticed online to do sexual acts.While sexual predators have targeted children in chat rooms, they migrate to wherever young people go online, Shehan says.Software filters aren't a perfect solution; some nasty sites can slip through, while educational or family-rated sites may be blocked.So while some parents may wonder whether monitoring means they're spying on their kids, the safety factor often wins out.
Internet Safety Tips Camera phones, digital cameras and web cams are everywhere these days, and kids can be victims of their own inexperience with new technology.