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|Web logs - "blogs" for short - are very popular among young people. Blogs are used to post thoughts, opinions, photos, and other material on the Web for the online community to read. Some bloggers have their own Web site; others post their blogs on one of many blog-hosting sites. These hosting sites are very popular with young people, who often post their journals, photos, and other personal information. Blogs, however, are not fixed communications. Postings can be added and replied to on a continuing basis. |
While children may enjoy "blogging," it can be dangerous. Unlike a bedside journal or diary, blogs are accessible to strangers. That means online predators - who search blog-hosting sites for potential targets - can learn personal information about the children who post blogs. Furthermore, predators are almost always able to contact the child who posted the blog by sending a message through the Web site.
Tips to keep your children safe from the dangers associated with blogging:
- Don't allow your children to post a blog or online profile. Explain to them that blogs can often be viewed by anyone - even people that they should not trust.
- If your child has posted a Web site, profile, or blog on the Internet, check the content regularly for appropriateness.
- Make sure your children know never to divulge personal information on the Internet, whether through a blog, profile, chat room, e-mail, or Instant Message. Personal information can include their name, phone number, address, or birthday. Even seemingly innocuous information - such as the mascot at their school - can help strangers determine where they live.
- Don't allow your child to post his or her photo online.
- Consider installing monitoring software that will enable you to monitor how the computer is being used and what your child is doing on it.
- Remind your children that they should not contact anyone online whom they don't know in person, even if the person has a blog that looks interesting to them.
- Always get to know your children's online friends and with whom they are communicating.