What You Can Do to Protect Children from Unwanted Sexual Solicitation Online

Programs to use and top tips for parents

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Top Tips for Parents

1. Know your kids’ passwords on all devices: desktop and laptop computers, iPads, phones, etc.
2. Create a strong password for yourself, and don’t share it with the kids.
3. Google your kids regularly.
4. Check the browser history of devices your kids use.
5. If possible—or realistic—restrict computer use to a common area of the house.
6. Set a curfew for going online: Collect all web-enabled devices an hour before bedtime.
7. Monitor gaming sites your kids use: There is plenty of talk about sex, drinking, and drugs, even among non-predatory adults.
8. Be alert if your child shuts down or changes screens as soon as you enter the room.
9. Set limits on who your children can “friend.” 
10. Keep an eye out for packages sent to your child; if he or she suddenly has “gifts”—such as a phone or other electronic devices—find out who they’re from and verify it.
11. Talk to the parents of your child's friends; share your concerns about web use and find out what kind of rules they have in place. Make sure that your child knows that your rules apply to online activity anywhere.  —RDV

Elzy Kolb is a White Plains-based freelance writer. She has written articles for O, The Oprah Magazine; the New York Times; BobVila.com; and TheStreet.com. Her most recent article for Westchester Magazine was “How Safe Are Our Schools?” (August, 2013).

Westchester resident Russell Dean Vines is an internationally recognized computer security expert who has written more than 10 books on the subject. 



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