ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Family and Parenting»
  • Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice

How To Protect Your Children From Online Predators

Updated on November 27, 2010

The internet has become a juggernaut in society after only a few decades of availability in private residences.  It is incredibly easy for a person to get lost, or found, among the billions and billions of bytes of data flowing through cyberspace every second.  It doesn't take a computer savvy predator or a career criminal to locate, converse with, and eventually arrange a face-to-face meeting with a child or young teenager (or even a vulnerable adult).  In fact, it is much easier now than it has ever been.

Twenty to twenty-five years ago, when I first became aware of the internet and all its wondrous potential, it seemed as though the only way you could connect (unless you were a hacker) to cyberspace was through an online service such as America Online, Prodigy, or CompuServe.  Individual ISPs were almost unheard of and were just getting their foot in the door of the internet access boom.  The Big Three (AOL, Prodigy, and CompuServe) had a huge draw for subscribers primarily for the chat rooms.  You could spend hours talking to complete strangers about any topic under the sun, or create a private chat room for yourself and your friends.  Chatting online was a new and quick way for long-distance friends and family to remain connected with each other without having the expense of a phone call or the time-consuming process of mailing a letter.  It was as simple as a click...

*beep beep boop boop beep beep beep beep boop*
* screeee waaaahhh scroooo screeeee waaaahhhhh*

..........Welcome...........You've Got Mail..........

Now that access to the internet is almost as readily available as access to water and electricity, cyberspace has become a virtual playground for internet predators.  It's easy to log in to the internet anonymously, create an online persona that has nothing to do with the 'real' you, and go fishing for prey with almost no bait at all.  Children as young as six and seven spend time on the internet these days, often unmonitored by their parents, who are now using the internet as their babysitters instead of the "that is SO yesterday" television set.

Chatting online has also become extremely widespread and simple, without being restricted to chat rooms anymore.  Online games have chat functions and private messaging systems.  Social networking sites allow for private messages and chat sessions.  Almost everyone has an email address these days, including children.

How can you, as a responsible parent, do what you can to protect your child from becoming a victim of an online predator?

Make sure you know what your child is doing online.  You don't have to stand over their shoulder and supervise every click of the mouse or keystroke on the keyboard, but computer operating systems come with parental controls, and you can download programs that allow you to review logs of what has been done, visited, or typed with a computer.

Educate your child about the internet and the people they might come into contact with.  Don't let them engage in online chat with someone that hasn't been approved by you first.  This includes "school friends" that you might not know.  If it's not a family member, tell your child that you would like to meet their school friend and possibly speak with that child's parents first before you allow them to chat online.  Let your child know that there are some bad people on the internet that will lie about who they are and try to befriend your child.  The adage not to take candy from strangers applies to candy in cyberspace, as well.

If your child plays any online games, familiarize yourself with the game and check to see if the game has parental controls to limit or restrict chat.  (Wizard 101 is an excellent example of a game geared for a younger audience that has parental controls.)  A predator can obtain a child's telephone number or home address via chat in an online game as easily as they can in a chat room.

Emphasize to your child that they are never, never, never to give out personal information like their full name, telephone number, address, email address, or other private data unless they have your express permission to do so first.  Tell them that if anyone asks for that type of information, they are to stop what they are doing on the computer and let you know immediately.

Limit the amount of time your child spends on the internet every day.  I spend ten to eighteen hours per day on the internet, which is excessive.  A child should spend that amount of time on the internet in a couple of weeks, not a few days.  Do not allow your child to use the computer when you aren't home.  If you are worried about their ease of access, put passwords on your computer (and on the child's log-in account) and do not let the child have the password, so that they have to get you to log them in when they are allowed to use the internet.

Basically, be an involved and concerned "hands on" parent.  Let your child know that you love them and that you are primarily concerned for their well-being and safety, and teach them how to be safe in cyberspace.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      cynamans 6 years ago

      Great Hub Sarasca.

      Thanks alot for posting. Voted up and useful.

    • kirutaye profile image

      kirutaye 7 years ago from London, UK

      This is a really useful hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      You can go the additional step of installing IP trackers, and if needed, and IP blocker. But typically good parenting would prevent the need - but there are clever devils out there.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)