This post is from our friends at Safe Eyes.

We blog a lot about the dangers out there, and there are so many
that take so many different forms it can at times seem overwhelming.
Because of this we decided to isolate six problem areas and give
parents one really useful strategy for dealing with them. These
strategies are just a starting point, and please visit our tips section for more.

  • Sexting – The increasingly common practice of
    sending sexually suggestive text messages, photos or videos through
    cell phones is a big worry. It can invite public humiliation,
    cyberbullying or even sexual assault. Teenagers are even being charged
    with child pornography for sending or posting racy photos. One way to
    limit children’s sexting opportunities is to retrieve their cellphones
    at night and charge them in the parents’ room. Phones today are simply
    small computers, and they should be regulated in the same way as those
    larger machines.
  • Social Networking – Rule #1 is that children
    should never post anything they wouldn’t be comfortable showing to
    their parents, teacher, or youth worker. One way to discourage
    inappropriate entries is to join the social networks that your kids are
    on and ‘friend’ your own children so that you can monitor what they’re
  • Chatting – Chat rooms are not only nesting places
    for predators, but they often indirectly encourage rude and even
    abusive interactions between users due to the anonymity and lack of
    consequences. If your child is using chat rooms, find out which ones
    and check them out for yourself. If you are uncomfortable with specific
    chat sites, you might consider using filtering software to block access
    to those sites or log all chats for later review.
  • Gaming – Increasingly popular MMOGs (Massive
    Multiplayer Online Games) like Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft are
    massively addictive, with reports of non-stop sessions as long as 48 or
    72 hours. To prevent the unhealthy practice of spending more time in a
    virtual world than a real one, parents should either refuse to buy
    these games or impose time limits. (The American Academy of Pediatrics
    recommends no more than two hours of screen time per day per child 12
    and under.) If the child breaks the rules, simply uninstall the game
    from the computer or confiscate the disc.
  • Searching – On most popular search engines
    including Google, the safe-search settings aren’t completely effective
    and are easy to turn off. For that reason, younger children should not
    have a computer in their room, and their computer use should be
    supervised. Filtering software can also protect both younger and older
    children from exposure to websites with adult, violent or other
    inappropriate content.
  • File-Sharing – Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing
    networks such as BitTorrent, uTorrent, Bearshare and Limewire allow
    totally unregulated access to files that other network members have
    shared, including illegal pirated material and child pornography, not
    to mention opening computers to security risks. Banning these programs
    in your home is a good idea. Check your family computer periodically to
    be sure that no one has downloaded any of them, and remove them if they