Internet Predators ­

Mark Foley, the former Republican Congressman from Florida has made news recently due to sexually explicit internet
messages he allegedly sent to pages.    A “page” is a high school junior that works as a messenger and administrative assistant
to members of Congress. This upsetting story reminds us of some of the dangers that the internet can pose to children. As
access to and the different uses of the internet grows, so do the potential dangers. The internet is still relatively new and iit
will take more time to have a full understanding of all of its benefits and potential harms.
It is impossible to constantly supervise a child’s use of the internet, especially as he or she gets older, but
there are things you can do as a parent or care­giver to help protect children.    It is important to open a dialogue with your
child on what they use the internet for and to ask permission and observe the sites they like to visit. This is easier to do when
the computer is set up in a room in the house that is central and everybody uses. There should be limits on the amount of time
and time of day the internet is used.
For more detailed infromation on internet safety for children, please visit http://www.aacap.org, go to “Facts for Families” and
download #59; “Children Online”. You can also visit “GetNetWise”, which contains a lot of good information on internet
safety. The address to that site is on the “Education and Resources” page.

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