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Children and teens are naturally attracted to computers. Computers allow them to have easy communication with friends, and they can do school research, play games, etc. on computers. Computers have made life easier in a lot of ways. However, with the ease of computer access comes the risk of encountering a sex offender.
Each state maintains a list of sex offenders, and you can access that list periodically to see if there are any sex offenders living in your area. However, this list may not cover the sexual predators that search the Internet for their next victim. How can you protect your child?
Teach your child the following safety guidelines, and continue to access your state's list of sexual offenders to search for updates in your area.
* Never download images that are from an unknown source. (These could be pornographic pictures.)
* Choose a either-gender screen name, and be careful what words you use in your screen name. Never use your real name!
* Use the e-mail filters and blockers that your ISP offers.
* Never give out personal information about yourself or any members of your family. This includes filling out info on sites such as FaceBook and MySpace.
* If you receive an instant message from someone you don't know, do not respond, and block that person from your IM.