Risks of the Internet

Children and the Internet - A Guide for Parents

Arrowhead Library System - Janesville, Wisconsin


Credibility of online information
-- Anyone can publish anything
-- On e-mail and chat, strangers can pretend to be someone else

Exposure to Inappropriate Material

-- Sexually explicit images and texts as well as sites promoting hatred, bigotry, violence, drugs and cults are accessible. Many adult sites, however, require credit card or password as a deterrent to minors.

Physical Molestation

-- Highly unlikely, but there is risk that a child might provide information or arrange an encounter that could risk the child's or family member's safety


-- Child might encounter e-mail, chat or newsgroup messages that are harassing, demeaning or belligerent.
-- Child might be tempted to use the Internet to post harassing, threatening or potentially libelous comments about others.

-- Probably the most common misuse of the Internet by kids is plagiarizing written material and using photos or trademarked logos without permission. Articles cannot be cut and pasted from a Web site for a school report without attribution.

Legal and Financial
-- Child's unauthorized use of parent's credit card - financial and legal consequences

-- Remember: No one, including reputable companies, has a right to extract personal information from children without first checking with their parents.

Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Dangers

-- Some sites advocate use of these substances, or market them to children.
-- Information is available on how to make bombs or obtain weapons. (No known cases where children have committed an act of violence as a result of going online, however.)

Gambling and Other Inappropriate Behaviors

-- Sites which allow gambling with real money or "just for fun." (Credit card required.)
-- Buy and sell stocks and securities. (Password required.)


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