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Dangers of Personal Websites

Family Safety Expert Advice from Gavin de Becker

Q: Is there any information available about the do's and don'ts of placing information on a website such as pictues, hobby info, personal info, and more? We are aware of chat room danger, but this is different. We have found nothing that is specific to website information placement. Can you tell us anything more or guide us to a site that addresses this information particularly?

A: Personal web sites can indeed provide a method whereby child sexual predators gain access to kids, not literal physical access, of course, but access to communicate with a child and work on persuading a child to meet, talk on the phone, etc. Some web sites also have photos that may appear innocent to kids, but might be the type of photo of interest to a predator.

Some web sites that contain personal information make kids easy to locate. If you allow your kids to have a web site, apply this rule: Don't post anything on a web site that you would not be willing to post on the bulletin board of every supermarket in every city in America.

Another great option that addresses all of what your kids might encounter on the Internet: Place a remote monitor (computer screen) in the kitchen or livingroom so that whatever your child is seeing and doing on the Internet could be seen by others at another part of the house. The cost for a monitor and cable is small. Is this like Big Brother? I think it is no different than influencing what books, television shows, or movies your child has access to.

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Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the leading U.S. expert on the prediction and management of violence. His work has earned him three Presidential appointments and a position on a congressional committee. He is currently co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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