Child Safety On The Information Highway
Many children are killed or seriously injured in backover incidents. A backover incident typically occurs when a vehicle coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over an unattended child because the driver did not see him or her.
Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash-related fatalities among children. Vehicle heatstroke occurs when a child is left in a hot vehicle, allowing for the child’s temperature to rise in a quick and deadly manner. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal. Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids, or whose routine suddenly changes.
Most teens have heard about the risks associated with inappropriate posts (especially those applying for college) but it never hurts to have a discussion about this and to be a good role model by making sure your own posts (and those with pictures of your kids) are suitable for just about anyone who might see them.
A child may be exposed to inappropriate material that is sexual, hateful, or violent in nature, or encourages activities that are dangerous or illegal. Children could seek out such material but may also stumble on it if they’re not looking for it. If you think your child may be looking at pornography, take a deep breath and think about how you should react. For more, see So your kid is looking at porn. Now what?
While technological-child-protection tools are worth exploring, they’re not a panacea. To begin with, no program is perfect. There is always the possibility that something inappropriate could slip through or something that is appropriate will be blocked. Also, filtering programs do not necessarily protect children from all dangerous activities. And even though they might block what children can see online, they might not block what they can say. For example, even with a filter it might be possible for a child to post inappropriate material or personal information on a social networking site or blog or disclose it in a chat room or instant message. Also some filters do not work with peer-to-peer networks that allow people to exchange files such as music, pictures, text, and videos. Filters are not a substitute for parental involvement. Regardless of whether you choose to use a filtering program or an Internet rating system, the best way to assure that your children are having positive online experiences is to stay in touch with what they are doing. The best filter — the one that lasts a lifetime — doesn’t run on a device but on the software between your child’s ears.
There have been some highly publicized cases of bad things that have happened to people — including children — as a result of their being online. But that doesn’t mean that most children will experience serious problems. The vast majority of people — kids and adults — who use the Internet do not get into serious trouble. True, just about everyone will, at some point, experience some amount of discomfort from such things as unwanted spam email, exposure to unpleasant web content or having to deal with someone who is rude and annoying. But unfortunately that’s always been true in life. We can’t protect children from all of life’s unpleasantries, but we can help them learn to deal with them.