Keeping Kids Safe in an Unsafe World

by Dr. Virginia Smith

Not a day goes by that we don’t see on the evening news or read about online another incident where a child has been victimized by an adult – either by someone they know and should be safe with, or online by a predator. While we can’t protect them from every danger or evil person they may encounter, we can take steps to prepare for and prevent many of the situations that endanger our children, particularly those found on the internet.

One of the key qualities we need to develop in our children is that capacity to be cautious. Children and teens (and many adults) are impulsive, many times making decisions “on the fly” without a lot of research, information, input, or thought. While cruising the internet a teen may innocently click on a link without thinking and be taken to a site where they might be victimized.

Keeping Kids Safe Online

What are some common sense steps you can take enhance your children’s safety on the internet? According to NetSmartz, an online safety clearinghouse (, here are six basic things you as a parent or guardian can do:

One of the key things to remember is to keep the lines of communication open with your child. Together, form a team to take on the challenge of internet safety. By keeping the dialogue going, even if your child encounters danger, you will know about it earlier – and hopefully in time to take appropriate action to protect your child and your family.

Dr. Virginia Smith is a speaker, author, and life-long educator. A Kamm Distinguished Fellow in Academics, Research, and Leadership, she holds degrees in family services, business, and education with areas of concentration in curriculum design and development.

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