Staying Safe from Online Predators

9 years 11 months 2 weeks ago December 22, 2006 Dec 22, 2006 Friday, December 22 2006 Friday, December 22, 2006 6:23:15 PM CST in News

Ronda Bowman has three children, the oldest is an avid Internet user at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia.

"He's monitoring MySpace accounts and DeviantArt and has contacts with other kids across the country," said Bowman.

Although she worries about Internet predators targeting her children online, Bownman said it's hard to monitor her son's computer use.

"I can't really, other than talking to him about where he's going," she admitted. "It's sort of a trust basis because it's here at the library, it's not a home computer."

The library said children must have their parents' permission to be online, but library staff don't electronically monitor them.

"Our policy is we do not have a set filter on Internet access computers," explained Kris Farris of the Daniel Boone Regional Library. "We have found that the filters that are out there and available tend to filter out sites that are very appropriate."

Bowman also said it's important to teach kids how to stay safe online.

"Any time I see an article in the newspaper, I point it out, 'Hey, this girl got killed by somebody stalking her on MySpace.' I make a point to point out stuff that's really happening so it just doesn't sound like me being a paranoid mom."

The Columbia Public Library said it has not had problems with online predators, but it does offer classes to teach parents about online safety.

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