List of dangers of online dating

Software filters aren't a perfect solution; some nasty sites can slip through, while educational or family-rated sites may be blocked.

So while some parents may wonder whether monitoring means they're spying on their kids, the safety factor often wins out.

In the age of You Tube, a website that hosts videos shot by users, "Kids are looking for their 15 megabytes of fame," Aftab says. If it's a one-time thing, try to ignore the bully and block future contact, she says.

"They do it to show that they're big enough, popular enough, cool enough to get away with it." Often, kids don't tell parents they're being cyberbullied; they're afraid their parents will overreact or yank Internet privileges, Aftab adds. But if the cyberbullying involves any physical threat, you may need to call the police.

Cyberbullying includes sending hateful messages or even death threats to children, spreading lies about them online, making nasty comments on their social networking profiles, or creating a website to bash their looks or reputation.

Cyberbullying differs from schoolyard bullying, Handy says. "When it happens online, there's no one to filter it," she says.

Internet Safety Tips Camera phones, digital cameras and web cams are everywhere these days, and kids can be victims of their own inexperience with new technology.

Many post pictures, videos or notes online that they later regret.

About 1 in 7 kids have been sexually solicited online, says John Shehan, Cyber Tipline program manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia.

Some cyberbullies pose as their victims and send out harassing messages to others.

Recently, cyberbullies have also begun posting humiliating videos of other kids they dislike, says Parry Aftab, a cyberspace security and privacy lawyer who also serves as executive director of Wired Safety.org, one of the largest Internet safety education groups in the world.

But instant messaging, chat rooms, emails and social networking sites can also bring trouble - from cyberbullying to more serious Internet dangers, including exposure to sexual predators.

How savvy are you about keeping your child or teenager safe online?

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