It’s critical for your children to understand that anyone and everyone is on the internet (good people, bad people, predators) and it can be very hard to spot the predators online.
The worst people are often the kindest voices over text messages or chat rooms. They are master manipulators, and may pose as other kids. There’s a classic comic that shows a dog in front of a computer and telling his friend, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It’s a funny cartoon that drives home a very critical point—anyone can pretend to be anything on the internet.
Kids need to realize that online “friends” they’ve never met are actually strangers. Strangers wanting to know more about their personal life, their habits, strangers who want to meet them. Kids should be in the habit of treating online “friends” the same as they would treat a stranger walking up to them on the street, and for the exact same reasons.
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