Signs your child may be breaking your online rules

As a parent, you’re probably aware that rules are often made to be broken, at least from your teenager’s point of view. In Internet Utopia, you make the rules, and your children happily follow them. Real life, however, is often drastically different. Children and teenagers live to test boundaries, and are often unaware of the danger they are putting themselves into. If you have a child or teenager who regularly uses the Internet, keep an eye out for these signs that your rules may be being broken.

If you or your child suddenly begins receiving large amounts of spam e-mail, unsolicited e-mail, or pop-up ads, when you were not before, this may be a sign that your child has given out e-mail address online. Unfortunately, attractive offers abound on the Internet, and it only takes one to entice your child. Remind your teen that contests and giveaways are often bogus, and if they are not likely to win a free Nintendo DS simply by clicking on a banner ad and entering their e-mail address. Instead, all you’re likely to receive is more spam.

If your child receives mail from someone that you don’t know, this could be a sign that they have been approached by a predator online. If this happens in your family, install parental control software immediately and begin carefully monitoring where your child goes on the Internet. More than likely, he or she has already given up her home address, making for an extremely dangerous situation. Be sure to take action immediately.

If your child is behaving inappropriately online, they may act quickly to cover up their behavior. If you notice a trend towards covering up the screen, changing tabs quickly, or shutting off the monitor when you enter the room, it may be time to step up your Internet monitoring efforts. Again, by installing parental control software you can carefully monitor were your child is going and what they’re doing when they’re one the Internet. They don’t even have to know that the monitoring software has been installed. In fact, it may be better if they don’t know.

Of course, you should also watch for other signs of dangerous Internet usage, including an unusual amount of time spent online, behavior changes, emotional withdrawal, and sudden secrecy. If you notice any strange behavior, especially if it is accompanied by a severe increase or decrease in Internet usage, be especially alert. It may be time to begin browsing the files and history on your computer to see if you can figure out the mystery.

Keeping an eye on what your children do online can help protect your computer from online data hacks, viruses and other computer security breaches. Having a good cloud security program will help prevent those attacks.

Have a great day!