In light of “Momo”, a terrifying and inappropriate Kids YouTube hack, our team has discussed the importance of Internet safety.

We are reminded that the enemy is INSIDE our homes: It is the computer.

Sure, we have easier access to great articles, news, and communication. However, there are some pitfalls to the Internet.

Unfortunately, the internet can’t be regulated. Despite the efforts of the police, internet providers and independent websites, it’s impossible to monitor every corner of the Internet 100% of the time.

This has posed a risk for children.

Not to mention, that EVERYBODY has access to the Internet. Including the type of people you don’t want to have access to your child. Communication is quick and easy through chat groups, online forums and social media.

There have been two apparent (though unconfirmed) suicides as a result of Momo. Similarly, the “Blue Whale” game lead to many deaths in Russia and Ukraine. Both games have similar attributes – coaching children in self-harm.

So, how do we keep our children safe online?

Both from child predators and sick hacks that preach suicide to impressionable teens.

First and foremost, strict monitoring should be in the hands of the parent. Parents can implement Parental Controls on the computer, and Internet history can give you insight into what your child searches.

We suggest having a computer in a common area to ensure online rules are being followed and so your child knows that you monitor their activity.

Canady Safety Council suggests the following rules for your child and internet safety:

  1. I ask my parents’ permission before giving out any personal information on the Internet, including my sex, name, phone number, address, e-mail, school name, my parents’ work address/telephone numbers, credit card information, my picture and my passwords.
  2. I only use chat rooms for kids that my parents have checked out for me.
  3. When I’m online, I always use a nickname that doesn’t reveal anything about me – including if I am a boy or girl.
  4. If an online message makes me feel uncomfortable or frightened, I don’t respond to it. Instead, I tell an adult right away.
  5. If I want to arrange a meeting with someone I’ve met on the Internet, I tell my parents first and make sure one of them comes with me.
  6. I treat people nicely when I’m online and never post or send rude messages or threats.
  7. I always ask permission from the author before taking words, pictures or sounds from a Website.
  8. I use Web sites and search engines for kids that my parents, teacher or librarian have told me about.
  9. I know things that I read online aren’t always true so I check the information with a parent or teacher.
  10. I always check with an adult before opening e-mails from strangers

Furthermore, there are some warning signs to watch out for when it comes to online predators. Ensure your child isn’t becoming withdrawn or substituting online interaction for social interaction.

Spending hours online, especially at night, can also be a red flag – try to limit the allotted online time. Children should not be sneaky with their online activity.

We have all heard the horror stories of children online, and it’s essential that we band together to ensure a safer online community for our kids.

Written by Celina Dawdy