Risky Business

Kid’s Internet Safety Alliance vice-chair Paul Gillespie lists the following risky online behaviours your children need to avoid and that you need to be aware of:  

Giving friends their MSN password. Anyone who has your child’s password can go online and send messages in their name. "I’ve known children to spend weeks trying to convince people that nasty messages weren’t from them," Gillespie says.

Using webcams. "Kids dare each other to do things, like removing clothes or engaging in sexual activity that, unknown to them, their friends are recording." When the friends have a falling out, the images can turn up on YouTube, be emailed to parents and schoolmates, or posted in school washrooms.

Joining a social network. "Peer pressure to put up as much information as possible renders your child very vulnerable" to predators, according to Gillespie.

Visiting gaming groups online. Chat rooms in the gaming community can lead to a false sense of camaraderie with strangers who may spend weeks grooming their relationship with your child in order to exploit him sexually, or otherwise.

Giving out your name, address or bank information. Fraudsters phishing for this sort of information can, if successful, set up false identities, get credit cards or buy heavily online in your child’s name – leaving you to pay the bills.