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About Bob Kessinger

Here are my most recent posts

Protecting Your Kids From Cyber Sharks: Cyber Savvy Tip #10

Kids willingly and knowingly give up information without considering the consequences. Even if you‘ve taught them that giving out  information like home addresses and phone numbers is strictly taboo, social networking sites give them the opportunity to offer up much more without knowing it. For example, posting seemingly innocent pictures can unwittingly divulge important information. Take a picture of a cheerleader, standing in front of her house, with the address showing. From just this one picture, any interested observer can find just about everything they need to know about her.

Kids need to know it’s not just about words.  Help them understand how private information can ‘leak out’ so they can protect themselves.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Bob Kessinger,CyberPatrol

Bob is the co-author of Surfing Among the Cyber Sharks: Parent’s Guide to Protecting Children and Teens from Online Risk.

Protecting Your Kids From Cyber Sharks: Cyber Savvy Tip #9

For the most part, kids are fearless. And the Internet makes it easier for them to experiment and try new things than ever before. No 12-year-old can step into a real-world casino, drop a couple of bucks into a slot machine, and see what it‘s like to gamble. But they can do it online.

Unsupervised online activity gives a kid access to a world of things that they could have never experienced just a decade ago. Kids interested in drugs of all kinds can get them online. They can chat with strangers, even adults, experiment with sex, or learn how to build a bomb.

It‘s not only the vastness of online information or activities available; it‘s also the relatively private and seemingly secure way they can take place. Kids can gamble or view porn from their bedrooms. And since they don‘t recognize or believe there is a risk, the willingness to try anything increases. Understanding your kid‘s fear factor helps determine their vulnerability to cyber sharks who might lure them to places they don‘t belong.

A Microsoft Canada survey of kids ages 9 to 17, conducted by Youthography, says, “Too many children and teens still engage in risky online behavior, such as posting personal information, accessing adult sexual material, and cyber bullying.” (Rynor, 2009)

Talk to your children, understand what their ‘fear factor’ might be and have your conversations accordingly.  Good kids do dumb things so be involved and help them to make the right decisions.

                                                                                                                                                    Bob Kessinger,CyberPatrol

Bob is the co-author of Surfing Among the Cyber Sharks: Parent’s Guide to Protecting Children and Teens from Online Risk

Protecting Your Kids From Cyber Sharks: Cyber Savvy Tip #8

Over the course of 2 years, MySpace alone had to remove some 90,000 sexual predators off its website.

Enablers are typically social networking sites that serve the positive purpose of sharing information and connecting people with common backgrounds or interests. Unfortunately, these are all the things that predators are looking for. Predators need information about their prey, and they also need to connect with them. That‘s why MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites are a virtual gold mine for sexual predators.

Talk to you kids and make sure they understand what is ok and isn’t ok to post.  Even if they think they are posting in private, predators know all the tricks to be-friend people and gain their trust.

                                                                                                                                                 Bob Kessinger,CyberPatrol

Bob is the co-author of Surfing Among the Cyber Sharks: Parent’s Guide to Protecting Children and Teens from Online Risk

Protecting Your Kids From Cyber Sharks: Cyber Savvy Tip #7

A hidden identity online is actually very easy to create.  Kids can set up multiple emails for multiple purposes. Let‘s say they want to join a site that requires an email address but they want to keep their membership hidden from their parents. Creating a secret email account makes it easy. They don‘t have to access the email account from the computer‘s email program (like Outlook); they can access it directly from the provider‘s web site.

Whether you‘re sending an email or filling out a form, it‘s difficult, if not impossible, to verify that you are who you say you are. If you create a fictitious name and get yourself a free email address that alone will get you past the gates of most restricted web sites requiring you to register. So even if your kids have email addresses you know about, it doesn‘t mean they don‘t have others you don‘t know about.

Trust your kids, but verify what they are doing online.  It is your responsibility to keep them safe.

                                                                                                                                                           Bob Kessinger,CyberPatrol

Bob is the co-author of Surfing Among the Cyber Sharks: Parent’s Guide to Protecting Children and Teens from Online Risk

Protecting Your Kids From Cyber Sharks: Cyber Savvy Tip #6

Seven out of ten kids do not tell their parents or guardians about what they do online unless asked. Trust and communication are good things. Unfortunately, however, even smart, good kids do stupid things. And in many cases, as smart as kids are about technology and the Internet, they don‘t have enough information about the risks and consequences to make good decisions. And that can be disastrous.

There is also a fear among parents of violating their kid‘s privacy. But on some level, isn‘t paying attention to things children may want to keep private part of a parent‘s job? If we are too afraid to intrude, we miss opportunities to discuss important issues facing our kids.

We would never let our kids run free in a real-world place that had everything the Internet has to offer. We can‘t afford to do it in the virtual world, either. And although kids may not like it, we must take steps to ensure that our kids are adequately protected.

The bottom line is that protecting our minor children online is a parent‘s right and responsibility.  Talk to your kids today and ask about what they are doing online.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                             Bob Kessinger, CyberPatrol

Bob is the co-author of Surfing Among the Cyber Sharks: Parent’s Guide to Protecting Children and Teens from Online Risk