Recognize children's digital proficiency, but be alert to dangers - Word&Way

Recognize children’s digital proficiency, but be alert to dangers

When it comes to digital communication, children are natives, and their parents are immigrants. And that puts parents at a distinct disadvantage in protecting children from online danger, according to the president of a nonprofit advocacy group devoted to guarding children from Internet pornography and predators.

“Children are native speakers of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet, and many parents have not been able to develop digital proficiency. Parents are often left feeling overwhelmed, uninformed or ill-equipped to adequately protect their kids online,” said Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough is Enough.

About 93 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 are online, she reported. And too often, their parents lack either the skills or the awareness required to monitor their online activities effectively, she added.


Enough is Enough recently produced a new video, “The Perfect Storm,” as part of its Internet Safety 101 program, created in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice. The educational video is posted on YouTube.

“Despite the Internet’s many wonderful benefits, a perfect storm has emerged for the online victimization of children. Kids have free and easy access to pornography, and sexual predators have easy and anonymous access to kids. Law enforcement limitations and challenges abound, and naive kids are engaging in risky online behavior,” Rice says in the video.

Enough is Enough also posts multiple resources for parents at, including tips such as:

• Supervise the use of all Internet-enabled devices.

• Know your child’s online activities and friends.

• Monitor the online communities your children use—including social media and gaming sites—to see what information they are posting.

• Supervise the photos and videos your children post and send online.

• Discourage the use of webcams and mobile video devices.

• Teach your children how to protect personal information posted online and follow the same rules regarding the personal information of others.