12/18/2011 04:48 pm ET | Updated Feb 17, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Online Safety

2011-12-17-safekids.jpg answers questions about Internet safety

I've been working in the online safety field since 1993 when I wrote Child Safety on the Information Highway for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That document was based on what we thought we knew at the time -- before there was any research about the way kids and teens actually use the Internet. It's still reasonably good advice for young kids, but it's no longer what I'm telling people about pre-teens and teens. Unfortunately, some people are still using that advice from 1993 to apply to all kids.

Since then we have learned a great deal about online safety, including the fact that most kids are doing pretty well. Although there are risks, many of the things that adults worry about are far less likely than some imagine.

So, to update people, I've created a new document at called Online Safety FAQ which answers a lot of the most commonly asked questions such as:

  • Is my child at risk from online predators?
  • How common and dangerous is cyberbullying?
  • How common is sexting and what are the dangers?
  • Can social networks harm a person's reputation?
  • How much is "too much" time online?
  • What is the impact of pornography on kids?
  • What special risks are associated with Facebook, Google + and other social networks?
  • Is there a danger with online games?
  • What are the dangers associated with mobile phones?
  • How can my kids and I protect our security
  • Should I install Internet filtering or monitoring software?

Click here to see the answers to those frequently asked questions.