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What are the Risks for Children Online?

While the Internet is fundamentally a great place for children, there are some areas of cyberspace that are not appropriate, just as there are areas in almost every city that are inappropriate for children. There are also certain activities on the Internet that may be appropriate for adults but not for children, and areas that are suitable for some children and not for others. That's why we wrote this guide: to help parents decide what areas are right for their own children.

While you're making those decisions it helps to remember there are many viewpoints on the Internet. How a Web site or activity looks from within one family is very different from the way it's viewed by a whole society -- or a whole world, for that matter. The Internet is a global medium. Online activities that may be distasteful to almost anyone who cares about children may also be protected by free speech and other laws in the United States. Other Net activities -- like child pornography or the attempted luring of a child to a face-to-face meeting -- are illegal in many, but not all, countries. If you should encounter such activities, we've included links to law enforcement agencies you may wish to contact.

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