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There’s a lot of hype these days over Internet safety, some of it real, some of it unrealistic fears and concerns. This chapter will explore how to keep you and your children safe online.

Internet Safety Myths: Why People Want to Scare You

There is a lot of fear and paranoia being spread out there when it comes to kids and the Internet. Although some concerns are very real, you should also be aware that much of the hype about Internet dangers is purposefully created by companies who profit from selling safety products. Companies that sell web-monitoring software, anti-virus software, electronic tracking and other safety products can drive more sales by hyping up fears about the Internet, no matter how ludicrous. If you’re scared, you’re much more likely to drop money on their products, even if their product isn’t related to the scare in question, but merely promotes the Internet as a dark place where shady characters lurk around every corner.

Much of the largely imaginary “Internet predator” phenomenon is driven by companies who profit from fear, as are some other hyped up dangers. My all-time favorite scare tactic was when companies drummed up paranoia that posting pictures of prenatal sonograms was somehow a dangerous thing, and would surely lure evil molesters to your doorstep or incite them to do devious things with the grainy image of your developing fetus. As an organization that has done extensive work into the subject of sexual abuse in the real, non-make-believe world, I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous this idea is. Yet the industry was able to plant this article into a nationally-syndicated paper, along with a favorable mention of various Internet filtering software, which presumably, would save the day.

This doesn’t mean all the hype is imaginary . . . the Internet has become a place ripe for identity theft, fraud, and other criminal activity. It just means you should be skeptical of much of the hype you hear throughout the media. In many regards, the online world is much safer for your kids than simply walking out your front door.

Family Internet Safety

Other Internet safety resources

The menu on the left will guide you through the rest of this chapter, starting with an examination of the different types of Internet dangers. In addition, we have some other articles related to issues of Internet and technology safety listed below:

Read our article The cell phone stalkers.

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