Photo Credit: Getty images
The average 8- to 18-year-old spends about 90 minutes a day on the Internet visiting sites that have nothing to do with schoolwork, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report.
But unless you're watching their every mouse click -- and considering one-third of teens and tweens have computers in their rooms, you might not be -- you likely don't know what your child is up to for that hour and a half.
While you may already have blocked a few websites from your child -- pornographic and other adult-themed sites are given -- there's a grayer shade of site that's not explicitly pornographic in nature that you might want to consider keeping your child from accessing. Here's a sample of some sites you know (and others you don't) that may not have occurred to you to block.
You may surf it for used exercise equipment and secondhand Eames chairs, bur the site has a well-documented dark side. For starters, there are the adult-themed posts -- ads for prostitutes and proposals of casual hookups. But more worrisome is the fact that Craigslist has come under fire for everything from murder (remember the Craigslist Killer?) to sex trafficking. Craigslist has denied that the site is used for nefarious purposes, but amidst pressure from various state attorneys general, it agreed in May 2009 to ditch its "Erotic Services" section in favor of a monitored "Adult Services" section. Still, there is just too much sketchiness on Craigslist to risk it.
You might have never heard of these sites and on their face, they sound relatively innocuous. But as Cliff Boro, CEO of the kid-safe browser Kidzui, says the Internet wasn't made for kids, and so it's no place for them to troll around unsupervised. Take the cautionary tale of Jessica Leonhardt.
Jessica, better known online as Jessi Slaughter, was what is known as an "e-celeb" on StickyDrama, a website known for its malicious attacks on users as well as pornographic home videos posted by teens. Jessica's own images and videos drew lots of web traffic and her name grew in popularity. But it was her rants that turned her from a micro-celeb to Internet enemy No. 1.
"If you can't stop hating, you know what? I'll pop a Glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy," Jessica says in a YouTube video. The video got picked up by 4Chan.org's /b/ message board. Her real name, phone number and address were posted for all to see. Soon there were death threats against Jessica's family, which led to a police investigation.
Shocking, right? Now consider this: At the time, Jessica was just 11 years old.
What sites do you have blocked at home? Chime in below.