Internet Safety Concerns for Girls (and Women)
My daughter is just 9. Her use of the internet at home is to practice her spelling words on spellingcity.com or to play games on Nick Jr. But that’s at our house. I’m not naive enough to think that’s it. She has come home from slumber parties and talked about funny YouTube videos the girls watched or how they’ve become on-line fans of their favorite singers.
My daughter is just 9. That’s just four years away from the age when Facebook allows young people to have an account and five years away from being 14 – the same age that two teen boys fell victim to online sexual exploitation. Women’s Fund just shared a link to a ‘sexploitation’ case that raises concerns for chat rooms for teens.
Last week, Women’s Fund shared a link to an article about a mobile app, ‘Girls Around Me,’ that allows people to search if women are nearby, and provides access to their full name, photos and more. It merges Facebook, Google Maps and real-time GPS data. So now am I not only worried about my 9-year-old, I’m worried about my 30-40-year-old friends who “check-in” on Facebook.
Both of these articles are a wakeup call to me (and hopefully others) that we need to be safe offline as well as online – and not just for our kids, but for ourselves.
These postings by Women’s Fund are timely too. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a month designed to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. This is what Women’s Fund of Central Indiana does year-round through their research and funding of domestic violence (one of their core issues they support). They are working to make sure women and girls are safe.
I appreciate Women’s Fund for keeping these issues in the forefront and for sharing relevant news. It’s becoming a habit for me to look to their Facebook posts for articles and news of interest. More and more I’m finding that what they post is relevant to me, my daughter and my girlfriends.
So back to the safety of my daughter and her internet use, which is becoming an increasingly concern of mine. You can bet I plan on doing some of the following over the next few years as her internet use continues to grow:
- Keep the computer in a visible place so I can see/hear what she’s doing.
- Talk to her not only about what she doing online, but about online safety.
- Monitor and block some of the sites to prevent any mishaps as she searches for various sites.
I’m sure there’s a lot more I need to know about internet safety and online use. This is just a start. I’d be interested in how others are keeping kids safe. Please share any safety tips and useful links here for others to learn.
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