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Protecting Your Child from Online Danger

BIRMINGHAM – While a lock can keep uninvited guests from entering your home, what can you do to keep strangers from interacting with your child online?

“When we’re taking to children about online safety, we have to remember the internet opens us up to the entire world,” said Debra Schneider, director, CHIPS. “We need to remind them of the benefits of the internet but also the dangers because when children are online, they’re also exposed to online predators.”

Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services (CHIPS) has been an outpatient center at Children’s of Alabama since 1995. The CHIPS staff is a team of specially trained licensed professional counselors, doctors, licensed social workers and sexual assault nurse examiners. CHIPS provides forensic medical evaluations, social work support services, counseling services and prevention education services. 

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And just as parents and caregivers can teach children about how to safely cross the street or what to do in case of a fire, teaching them about how to use the internet safely is just as important. Schneider suggests:

•    Looking at their search history
•    Reviewing the apps on their device
•    Scrolling through images saved on the device
•    Asking them if they’ve ever felt uncomfortable while online

Each year, CHIPS staff provides around 2,000 medical exams and more than 400 counseling sessions to children who have been physically or sexually abused. 

Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient, outpatient and primary care throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s serves patients from every county in Alabama and nearly every state. Children’s is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the teaching hospital for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, psychiatry, research and residency programs. The medical staff consists of UAB faculty and Children’s full-time physicians as well as private practicing community physicians.