02/20/08
Lavanya found this at: http://www.teenangels.org/safety_ForParents.html
Online Safety Tips for Parents
1. Make sure that your child does not spend an excessive amount of time online/on the computer. Use your own discretion when setting guidelines. It is impossible to provide an exact time limit for use of the Internet. Based on school days vs. weekends, age of child, & use for the Internet, time limits will vary. An average of one to two hours per day is probably most appropriate.
However, there are always exceptions. Use your judgment in deciding what is best for your child.
2. People, not computers, should be your child's best friends & companions. Help them find a balance between computing & other activities.
3. Keep the computer in the family room, kitchen, or living room, not in your child's bedroom. Check the screen from time to time to make sure that they are viewing appropriate material. However, you should try building trust with your child, hoping that they have the good judgment to know right from wrong.
4. Learn enough about computers so that you can enjoy them together with your kids. (Your children may be the most affordable computer specialist you can persuade to do house calls.) Don't be afraid to learn something from your kids. However, you are the parent & you must also teach your child. It is a two-way street. Know your child's experience with the computer, & exactly how extensive their knowledge of the Internet is. You'd be surprised at how much they know & how much they can teach you.
5. Be aware of the sites your children visit, & the chat rooms they go into. As they get older, trust should build. Encourage discussions between you & your child about what they enjoy online. Always be open. Take time & visit some of these sites that they enjoy (if the children are younger).
6. Make sure that your children feel comfortable coming to you with questions. When things go wrong, don't overreact. Let them know that it's not their fault. Educate yourself on what to do when things do go wrong.
7. IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is a chat program that is very different from America Online. IRC has no terms of services like AOL, so people can talk about whatever they want & are generally not restricted. This is good & bad. It is good because its users can speak freely about whatever they want. It is bad because your children are not protected from obscenity & pedophiles. An AOL user could have their membership suspended or terminated for using obscene language, flaming, or stalking, but an IRC user could not. Some channels on IRC have channel rules, but this is the exception. That's why it is not recommended that parents let their children use IRC unless they are directly supervised.
8. Remember to monitor your children's compliance with your rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer. Be clear about your rules. Once you have discussed them with your children, you may want to post them on the computer or in another place near the computer where they can read them while they surf. It will help them remember.
9. Get to know your child's "online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends. Ask about who is on their buddy list & whom they talk to most frequently. This way you get a feel for whom they are talking to.
10. Warn your children that people are not always what they seem to be. Discuss this with them & be open. Parents & children can both be teachers. By having open discussions about safety, dangers, advantages, & disadvantages, you & your child can learn from each other.
11. Teach your children to exercise good judgment in cyberspace, just as they do off-line. It is just like taking your child to their first day of school. You can't always be there with them. But you can hold their hand along the way. The same applies on-line. "Hold their hand" by becoming educated, being open, building trust, and, most important, learning to let go.
12. Don't deprive your child of the Internet. Acknowledge the benefits of the Internet & review these advantages with your child. It used to be that a child with a computer & the Internet had a great advantage over those without these tools. However, as technology has
become dominant, those without are now at a disadvantage.
13. To prevent your computer's hard drive from getting damaged, you should purchase or download antivirus programs frequently. Viruses come out practically every day, so we recommend you update your antivirus programs as often as possible. Some good programs are McAfee & Norton. Remember that a parent is not a bad parent because they do not know everything about computers, but they can become a better parent by keeping the lines of communication open, & sometimes this involves learning from their child.




2/20/08 Kyle S. Found this at
http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm
Introduction
While on-line computer exploration opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life, they can be exposed to dangers as they hit the road exploring the information highway. There are individuals who attempt to sexually exploit children through the use of on-line services and the Internet. Some of these individuals gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts. These individuals are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money, and energy in this process. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children. These individuals attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations.
There are other individuals, however, who immediately engage in sexually explicit conversation with children. Some offenders primarily collect and trade child-pornographic images, while others seek face-to-face meetings with children via on-line contacts. It is important for parents to understand that children can be indirectly victimized through conversation, i.e. "chat," as well as the transfer of sexually explicit information and material. Computer-sex offenders may also be evaluating children they come in contact with on-line for future face-to-face contact and direct victimization. Parents and children should remember that a computer-sex offender can be any age or
sex the person does not have to fit the caricature of a dirty, unkempt, older man wearing a raincoat to be someone who could harm a child.
Children, especially adolescents, are sometimes interested in and curious about sexuality and sexually explicit material. They may be moving away from the total control of parents and seeking to establish new relationships outside their family. Because they may be curious, children/adolescents sometimes use their on-line access to actively seek out such materials and individuals. Sex offenders targeting children will use and exploit these characteristics and needs. Some adolescent children may also be attracted to and lured by on-line offenders closer to their age who, although not technically child molesters, may be dangerous. Nevertheless, they have been seduced and manipulated by a clever offender and do not fully understand or recognize the potential danger of these contacts.
This guide was prepared from actual investigations involving child victims, as well as investigations where law enforcement officers posed as children. Further information on protecting your child on-line may be found in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Child Safety on the Information Highway and Teen Safety on the Information Highway pamphlets.
What Are Signs That Your Child Might Be At Risk On-line?
Your child spends large amounts of time on-line, especially at night.
Most children that fall victim to computer-sex offenders spend large amounts of time on-line, particularly in chat rooms. They may go on-line after dinner and on the weekends. They may be latchkey kids whose parents have told them to stay at home after school. They go on-line to chat with friends, make new friends, pass time, and sometimes look for sexually explicit information. While much of the knowledge and experience gained may be valuable, parents should consider monitoring the amount of time spent on-line.
Children on-line are at the greatest risk during the evening hours. While offenders are on-line around the clock, most work during the day and spend their evenings on-line trying to locate and lure children or seeking pornography.
You find pornography on your child's computer.
Pornography is often used in the sexual victimization of children. Sex offenders often supply their potential victims with pornography as a means of opening sexual discussions and for seduction. Child pornography may be used to show the child victim that sex between children and adults is "normal." Parents should be conscious of the fact that a child may hide the pornographic files on diskettes from them. This may be especially true if the computer is used by other family members.
Your child receives phone calls from men you don't know or is making calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you don't recognize.
While talking to a child victim on-line is a thrill for a computer-sex offender, it can be very cumbersome. Most want to talk to the children on the telephone. They often engage in "phone sex" with the children
and often seek to set up an actual meeting for real sex.
While a child may be hesitant to give out his/her home phone number, the computer-sex offenders will give out theirs. With Caller ID, they can readily find out the child's phone number. Some computer-sex offenders have even obtained toll-free 800 numbers, so that their potential victims can call them without their parents finding out. Others will tell the child to call collect. Both of these methods result in the computer-sex offender being able to find out the child's phone number.
Your child receives mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don't know.
As part of the seduction process, it is common for offenders to send letters, photographs, and all manner of gifts to their potential victims. Computer-sex offenders have even sent plane tickets in order for the child to travel across the country to meet them.
Your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
A child looking at pornographic images or having sexually explicit conversations does not want you to see it on the screen.
Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.
Computer-sex offenders will work very hard at driving a wedge between a child and their family or at exploiting their relationship. They will accentuate any minor problems at home that the child might have. Children may also become withdrawn after sexual victimization.
Your child is using an on-line account belonging to someone else.
Even if you don't subscribe to an on-line service or Internet service, your child may meet an offender while on-line at a friend's house or the library. Most computers come preloaded with on-line and/or Internet software. Computer-sex offenders will sometimes provide potential victims with a computer account for communications with them.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Child Is Communicating With A Sexual Predator On-line?

• Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Tell them about the dangers of computer-sex offenders.

• Review what is on your child's computer. If you don't know how, ask a friend, coworker, relative, or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.

• Use the Caller ID service to determine who is calling your child. Most telephone companies that offer Caller ID also offer a service that allows you to block your number from appearing on someone else's Caller ID. Telephone companies also offer an additional service feature that rejects incoming calls that you block. This rejection feature prevents computer-sex offenders or anyone else from calling your home anonymously.


• Devices can be purchased that show telephone numbers that have been dialed from your home phone. Additionally, the last number called from your home phone can be retrieved provided that the telephone is equipped with a redial feature. You will also need a telephone pager to complete this retrieval.

• This is done using a numeric-display pager and another phone that is on the same line as the first phone with the redial feature. Using the two phones and the pager, a call is placed from the second phone to the pager. When the paging terminal beeps for you to enter a telephone number, you press the redial button on the first (or suspect) phone. The last number called from that phone will then be displayed on the pager.

• Monitor your child's access to all types of live electronic communications (i.e., chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat, etc.), and monitor your child's e-mail. Computer-sex offenders almost always meet potential victims via chat rooms. After meeting a child on-line, they will continue to communicate electronically often via e-mail.

Should any of the following situations arise in your household, via the Internet or on-line service, you should immediately contact your local or state law enforcement agency, the FBI, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

1. Your child or anyone in the household has received child pornography;

2. Your child has been sexually solicited by someone who knows that your child is under 18 years of age;

3. Your child has received sexually explicit images from someone that knows your child is under the age of 18.

If one of these scenarios occurs, keep the computer turned off in order to preserve any evidence for future law enforcement use. Unless directed to do so by the law enforcement agency, you should not attempt to copy any of the images and/or text found on the computer.
What Can You Do To Minimize The Chances Of An On-line Exploiter Victimizing Your Child?

• Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.

• Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.

• Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household.

• Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.

• Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.


• Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms.

• Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child's school, the public library, and at the homes of your child's friends. These are all places, outside your normal supervision, where your child could encounter an on-line predator.

• Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual exploitation, that he/she is not at fault and is the victim. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his or her actions.

• Instruct your children:

o to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line;

o to never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or on-line service to people they do not personally know;

o to never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number;

o to never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images;

o to never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing;

o that whatever they are told on-line may or may not be true.

Frequently Asked Questions:
My child has received an e-mail advertising for a pornographic website, what should I do?
Generally, advertising for an adult, pornographic website that is sent to an e-mail address does not violate federal law or the current laws of most states. In some states it may be a violation of law if the sender knows the recipient is under the age of 18. Such advertising can be reported to your service provider and, if known, the service provider of the originator. It can also be reported to your state and federal legislators, so they can be made aware of the extent of the problem.
Is any service safer than the others?
Sex offenders have contacted children via most of the major on-line services and the Internet. The most important factors in keeping your child safe on-line are the utilization of appropriate blocking software and/or parental controls, along with open, honest discussions with your child, monitoring his/her on-line activity, and following the tips in this pamphlet.
Should I just forbid my child from going on-line?
There are dangers in every part of our society. By educating your children to these dangers and taking appropriate steps to protect them, they can benefit from the wealth of information now available on-line.
Helpful Definitions:
Internet - An immense, global network that connects computers via telephone lines and/or fiber networks to storehouses of electronic information. With only a computer, a modem, a telephone line and a service provider, people from all over the world can communicate and share information with little more than a few keystrokes.
Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) - Electronic networks of computers that are connected by a central computer setup and operated by a system administrator or operator and are distinguishable from the Internet by their "dial-up" accessibility. BBS users link their individual computers to the central BBS computer by a modem which allows them to post messages, read messages left by others, trade information, or hold direct conversations. Access to a BBS can, and often is, privileged and limited to those users who have access privileges granted by the systems operator.
Commercial On-line Service (COS) - Examples of COSs are America Online, Prodigy, CompuServe and Microsoft Network, which provide access to their service for a fee. COSs generally offer limited access to the Internet as part of their total service package.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) - Examples of ISPs are Erols, Concentric and Netcom. These services offer direct, full access to the Internet at a flat, monthly rate and often provide electronic-mail service for their customers. ISPs often provide space on their servers for their customers to maintain World Wide Web (WWW) sites. Not all ISPs are commercial enterprises. Educational, governmental and nonprofit organizations also provide Internet access to their members.
Public Chat Rooms - Created, maintained, listed and monitored by the COS and other public domain systems such as Internet Relay Chat. A number of customers can be in the public chat rooms at any given time, which are monitored for illegal activity and even appropriate language by systems operators (SYSOP). Some public chat rooms are monitored more frequently than others, depending on the COS and the type of chat room. Violators can be reported to the administrators of the system (at America On-line they are referred to as terms of service [TOS]) which can revoke user privileges. The public chat rooms usually cover a broad range of topics such as entertainment, sports, game rooms, children only, etc.
Electronic Mail (E-Mail) - A function of BBSs, COSs and ISPs which provides for the transmission of messages and files between computers over a communications network similar to mailing a letter via the postal service. E-mail is stored on a server, where it will remain until the addressee retrieves it. Anonymity can be maintained by the sender by predetermining what the receiver will see as the "from" address. Another way to conceal one's identity is to use an "anonymous remailer," which is a service that allows the user to send an e-mail message repackaged under the remailer's own header, stripping off the originator's name completely.
Chat - Real-time text conversation between users in a chat room with no expectation of privacy. All chat conversation is accessible by all individuals in the chat room while the conversation is taking place.
Instant Messages - Private, real-time text conversation between two users in a chat room.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) - Real-time text conversation similar to public and/or private chat rooms on COS.
Usenet (Newsgroups) - Like a giant, cork bulletin board where users post messages and information. Each posting is like an open letter and is capable of having attachments, such as graphic image files (GIFs). Anyone accessing the newsgroup can read the postings, take copies of posted items, or post responses. Each newsgroup can hold thousands of postings. Currently, there are over 29,000 public newsgroups and that number is growing daily. Newsgroups are both public and/or private. There is no listing of private newsgroups. A user of private newsgroups has to be invited into the newsgroup and be provided with the newsgroup's address.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Cyber Division, Innocent Images National Initiative
11700 Beltsville Drive Calverton, MD





John found this here article at http://www.safekids.com/articles/thinksafe.htm.


When kids surf, think safety first

by Lawrence J. Magid
San Jose Mercury News
June 17, 2000
WHEN your children are online, they're out in public.
That's the first thing parents need to understand in coping with the difficult issue of how to protect their children when they visit the Internet.
Children should be taught that when they're talking with someone in a chat room or an instant message session, they're interacting with a stranger unless they're positive they really know that person in the ``real'' world.
In last week's column, I reported on the results of a national study that found 25 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 received unwanted sexually explicit pictures and that nearly one out of five had received an unwanted sexual solicitation during the past year.
Although most kids aren't deeply hurt by these experiences, some are clearly disturbed by them. Many parents are also disturbed -- not only by unwanted exposure to porn and suitors, but by the mere fact their children can readily find such material, or stumble on it accidentally.
So what's a parent to do? The question came up last week while I was in Washington, D.C., testifying at the Commission on Online Child Protection (www.copacommission.org). As a policy issue, I told the panel, it's important to distinguish between safety issues and moral issues. As a practical issue for parents, you need to prioritize your concerns, pick your battles and come up with a reasonable strategy to deal with whatever problems arise.
I think almost all parents would agree the safety of their children is the first priority. That's why it's so important children understand the Internet is something like a city street, where there are interesting buildings and people, as well as danger.
As I'm sure everyone realizes by now, no one really knows who you are online. That 13-year-old girl could actually be a 15-year-old boy or a 45-year-old man. Whoever he or she may be, make sure your children understand not to reveal anything about themselves that would allow someone to track them down. That includes the obvious, such as full name and address, but also less obvious details such as phone number, name and location of school and where parents work.
It's also a bad idea for your child to reveal his or her e-mail address, but that's sometimes self evident, unfortunately especially for America Online users.
By default, the screen name that appears in AOL chat rooms and instant message sessions is also your e-mail address. One solution is creating a special screen name that you or your children use whenever entering a chat room. Another trick, for instant messaging, is to download AOL Instant Messenger from AOL.com and register to use a screen name for that program that's not your regular AOL screen name.
In addition to not giving away their actual identify, it's important that your kids never get together with someone they meet online. If, for whatever reason, your child feels that it's absolutely imperative to get together with someone that they have ``met'' online, make sure it's in a public place, like a restaurant, at a reasonable hour and that Mom or Dad is present. That doesn't give you an iron-clad assurance that all will be well, but at least you'll get a rough idea of the person's age, gender and demeanor.
Speaking of age, don't assume this advice applies only to pre-adolescents. Yes, there are some particularly sick pedophiles who prey on young children. However, teens are victimized at a far higher rate than young children, especially when it comes to sexual crimes, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
What's more, not all teens who get into trouble through Internet contacts are snatched from home. In most cases, they are lured away. Teens are especially vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation because they are often going through emotional growing pains that make them easy prey for sympathetic'' and understanding'' individuals who are only too happy to give them a warm shoulder to lean on.
This cautionary advice even applies to adults. Recently, a man was arrested in Missouri for allegedly sexually assaulting adult women he met online. It gets even worse. Police suspect that he may have murdered some of the women he met in a sexually explicit chat room.
In addition to the issue of safety, there's the more complicated question of exposure to pornography -- complicated because, to begin with, most sexually explicit material is not illegal. So just because it may not be appropriate for children to look at doesn't give the government justification for a broad prohibition. Also, even though many kids are exposed to it accidentally, many more, I suspect, find it because they are looking for it.
How parents should respond depends on many factors, including the age of the child. Young children, for example, aren't likely to be looking for porn, but they are more likely than teenagers to be troubled if they stumble upon it. With teens, the issue isn't so much accidental exposure as it is their interest in finding it.
Technology for filtering Internet access -- an imperfect science -- is not appropriate in all situations and is especially problematic when it comes to teenagers.



Anna found this at http://www.wiredsafety.org/askparry/special_reports/spr2/index.html. this is just for parents. It provides them with info on online predators and tips on deciding if their child is a victim.
Is your child a potential victim?
Probably. Few are exempt. Most Internet-related victims fall into a few general categories. They live in suburbia or rural towns. They typically are between the ages of 11 and 15 years old. They are either very sheltered and naïve, or willing to take very serious risks and are playing at being sophisticated. (Most are sheltered and naïve.) They tend to be loners, and may not have many offline friends. They are looking for love. Some are tricked or conned into a meeting. (Generally boys are either tricked or are curious about and interested in exploring homosexuality Girls tend to believe they are in love and will marry the predator some day.) Many believe that they are communicating with someone around their own age (at least initially).
Go over each of these questions yourself. Then talk to your child. Does your child fit the profile of a typical Internet-related sexual victim? The young teen from Connecticut didn't. So, even if these don’t fit your child, you still need to be vigilant.

  • Does your child spend an inordinate amount of time online every day? (More than 1-1/2 hours a day of "fun" (not homework) time online is the dividing line between children who tend to engage in high risk online activities, such as meeting strangers offline, engaging in cybersex, sharing personal information online and sending photos of themselves to strangers online.)
  • Do they have lots of offline friends, or are they loners? (Generally children who have been lured by sexual predators online are loners and don't have a large circle of offline friends.)
  • Are they between the ages of 11 and 15 years of age? (The exact age these risks begin is determined by when they are permitted to go places without accounting precisely for their time. This may include going to the Mall, the park or an amusement park unattended. Usually by the time they are 16 years old, they aren't as susceptible to being lured.)
  • Are they sheltered, or particularly risky in their behavior? (The typical victim tends to fall into the extremes of this range of behavior. Either they are very sheltered and easy to con, when the predator will promise marriage and love ever after, generally in the guise of a cute teenage boy or girl, Or, they will use the Internet to act out their risky behavior, such as was the case with the Connecticut teenager.)
  • Do they have a relatively balanced life, with lots of activities offline, including sports, music, reading, etc.? (Although not the case with the Connecticut girl, who was apparently active at her school and in sports, most children who keep the Internet in perspective and have other activities are less likely to be lured by an Internet predator.)
  • Are they secretive about their Internet activities? Do you find that the screen goes blank when you walk by? If so, it's not a technical problem, your child doesn't want you seeing what they are doing. That's a good time to stop and ask them what they are doing. Where do they surf? Do they have an instant messaging account (most do.) and if so, who is on their buddy or notify list that they send instant messages to? Have they set up any privacy or security settings to block strangers from instant messaging them or e-mailing them? What about text-messaging on their cell phones or away messages that list their cell numbers? (Google your child, and learn how to do that at internetsuperheroes.org)
  • If they have a buddy list or notify list or other similar frequent address list, where did they get the names from? Do they know the person offline? Do they include friends of friends they know offline? (This is how many predators make it onto their list. They think it's safe since a friend knows the person, but the friend may not be as careful in selecting "buddies" online.) Walk through the list with your child. Have them tell you the real name of everyone on the list and how they know them. Do the same with text-messaging devices and cell phones.
  • Do they have a Web site, homepage or personal online profile? Look them over, if they do. See what your child shares about themselves with third parties online. Do they show another side? Do they make suggestive remarks at their site or on their profile? Do they refer to a "love" or someone special you don't recognize?
Additionally, to be safe, they should not include personally identifiable information, such as real full name, addresses, phone numbers, photos, descriptive information from which this information could easily be found (like a picture of them in front of their school, with the name of the school displayed on the building, referring to their sports team at school by name or by wearing something with identifying information in a photo, such as your school name, team name or something else that would give away information) or permit anyone to send them an e-mail at their real account. (If you have any reason to believe that your child wouldn't tell you the truth, refer below to my suggestion for handling a troubled child, on how to search for it yourself and consider using a monitoring software, like Spectorsoft.com.)
  • Are they making or receiving calls that you don't recognize? Are their phone calls you don't recognize on your phone bills? Does your child run to answer the phone, when you don't know the person they are talking to? Don't be lulled into thinking you would recognize that the person who called for your child is an adult. Many thoughtful and caring parents have been fooled. A 37-year-old can sound a lot alike a 15 year old if they want to.
  • Has your child received packages or gifts from someone you don't know? Many predators will send a disposable, Polaroid, or digital camera to your child, seeking sexually-explicit photos of your child. They also "groom" you child by sending small gifts, flowers, CD's, jewelry, etc. If your child is rushing home to access the mail before you, your antenna should be up.
  • Does your child have a wireless device, such as a text-messaging cell phone or device? Whom do they write to? Do they have a Sony Playstation 2? The newer versions have Internet capability, as will Gameboy soon. With whom do they communicate using those gaming devices? What do they talk about?
  • Is your child distracted? Has their behavior changed suddenly? Have they become more secretive? (I know, it's hard telling this from normal teenager behavior.:-) ) What about their friends? Have they pulled away from them recently? Have they changed friends recently?
  • Has something changed that you can't put your finger on? Trust your gut!
Bottomline you're still the parent, and all computers have a plug you can pull if they aren't following your rules!

Andrew found on http://www.netsmartz.org/safety/safetytips.htm
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clear, simple, easy-to-read house rules should be posted on or near the monitor. Create your own computer rules or print the Internet safety pledge. The pledge can be signed by adults and children and should be periodically reviewed.
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look into safeguarding programs or options your online service provider might offer. These may include monitoring or filtering capabilities.
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always read a web site's privacy policy before giving any personal information. Also make sure that a web site offers a secure connection before giving credit-card information.
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web sites for children are not permitted to request personal information without a parent's permission. Talk to children about what personal information is and why you should never give it to people online.
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if children use chat or e-mail, talk to them about never meeting in person with anyone they first "met" online.
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talk to children about not responding to offensive or dangerous e-mail, chat, or other communications. Report any such communication to local law enforcement. Do not delete the offensive or dangerous e-mail; turn off the monitor, and contact local law enforcement.
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keep the computer in the family room or another open area of your home.
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get informed about computers and the Internet. Visit the resources section to find additional information on Internet safety.
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let children show you what they can do online, and visit their favorite sites.
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have children use child-friendly search engines when completing homework.
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know who children are exchanging e-mail with, and only let them use chat areas when you can supervise. NetSmartz recommends limiting chatroom access to child-friendly chat sites.
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be aware of any other computers your child may be using.
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Internet accounts should be in the parent's name with parents having the primary screenname, controlling passwords, and using blocking and/or filtering devices.
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children should not complete a profile for a service provider and children's screennames should be nondescript so as not to identify that the user is a child.
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talk to children about what to do if they see something that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. Show them how to turn off the monitor and emphasize that it's not their fault if they see something upsetting. Remind children to tell a trusted adult if they see something that bothers them online.
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consider using filtering or monitoring software for your computer. Filtering products that use whitelisting, which only allows a child access to a preapproved list of sites, are recommended for children in this age group. NetSmartz does not advocate using filters only; education is a key part of prevention. Visit the resources section for web sites that provide information on filtering or blocking software.
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if you suspect online "stalking" or sexual exploitation of a child, report it to your local law-enforcement agency. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has a system for identifying online predators and child pornographers and contributing to law-enforcement investigations. It's called the CyberTipline®. Leads forwarded to the site will be acknowledged and shared with the appropriate law-enforcement agency for investigation.

Mrs. Cassinelli found this website: http://www.safekids.com/articles/parents_can.htm
What Can Parents Do About Online Safety
by Larry Magid
Nov. 13, 2006

It should come as no surprise that parental involvement is the key to keeping kids safe online. You can lecture your kids, you can install filters to block objectionable websites, you can spy on your kids and you even can try to keep your kid off the Internet, but none of those tactics are as effective as engaging them in conversation about what they're doing online.

This is especially true in the "Web 2.0" era of the interactive Internet when kids are not only "downloading" inappropriate information but "uploading" information about themselves in social networking sites like MySpace and even video sites like YouTube. Today, parents have to worry not just what their kids "see" on the net but what they "say" as well.

So what does it mean to be an involved parent? It doesn't necessarily mean standing over your kid's shoulder every time he or she goes online, but it does mean talking with your kids – especially your teens – on a regular basis about their internet activities.

And don't just focus on porn and predators. There are other "risks" for kids ranging from cyber bullying to net addiction to commercial exploitation. If your kids open up about bad experiences, don't overreact or blame the victim. Listen carefully and appreciate that fact that they're coming forward.

Your children may not want to talk about any negative experiences they've had online, but don't let that stop you from talking with them about dangers on the Internet. Don't exaggerate but do warn kids that getting giving out personal information and getting together with people they meet online can be dangerous. Let them know that the safest way to deal with unwanted solicitations is to not respond.

Don't think that kids aren't listening. Just as with messages about smoking and other dangerous substances, parents do have an impact. A national survey of teens conducted by the Boys and Girls Clubs found that "more than 1 in 3 youth (37%) stated that their relationship with their parents/guardians was most important to them... Surprisingly, nearly half (45%) of all respondents said that their parents most significantly influence their decisions, rather than their peers."

When it comes to bad things that can happen, let's look at some numbers, starting with the "2 P's" – porn and predators.. Earlier this year the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center reported the results of a 2005 national survey of 1,500 Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17. The study found that one in seven (13%) had received "unwanted sexual solicitations or approaches in the past year." That's down from one in five from the 1999 survey.

Before you become alarmed, it's important to note that not all of those solicitations came from adult "predators." In the 2005 survey "those younger than 18 were identified as solicitors in a substantial number of incidents — 43%." Thirty-nine percent of the solicitors were described as over 18 with the majority of that group (30%) between 18 and 25 and 14% of the solicitors were people the young victims knew in person prior to the solicitation.

While it's important to protect children of all ages, the survey, like previous studies, found that teens are at greater risk: "90% of the sexual solicitations happened to youths who were 13 or older."

From a prevention standpoint, one of the most important observations from the study, based on interviews with law enforcement officials, is the finding that "offenders rarely used deceit or violence. Rather they appealed to adolescents' interest in romance and sex."

Bottom line: Predators can't physically molest a child via the Internet. They must first convince the child to meet with them and that's nearly always done through persuasion, not force.

Of course, any report of an unwanted sexual solicitation is disturbing but there is some good news about how young people dealt with those incidents: "Most youth (66%) handled unwanted solicitations by removing themselves from the situation, by blocking the solicitor, or leaving the web site or computer. Other youth told the person to stop, confronted or warned the solicitor (16%), while others ignored them (11%)."

Unfortunately most kids who experienced these incidents didn't report them to parents or authorities. Only 5% were referred to law enforcement, 12% said they reported it to their parents while only 2% reported it to teachers or school personnel. "In more than half of cases (56%), youth did not tell anyone about solicitations."

From a percentage standpoint, exposure to unwanted porn is a bigger and growing problem. 34% of the teens "received unwanted exposures to sexual material" up from 25% in the 1999 survey. Again there is some good news about how young people dealt with unwanted porn.

"The great majority of youth (92%)," according to the survey, "simply removed themselves from the situation by blocking or leaving the site or computer when they encountered unwanted sexual material. Few youths (2%) who encountered sexual material while surfing said they went back to that site later."

The key word here is "unwanted." The study didn't deal with cases where teens were looking for porn.

Another serious problem is cyber-bullying, in which children are harassed, bullied, embarrassed, defamed or pressured via the Internet or cell phone. Examples of cyber-bullying include using email or other messages to threaten a child, but it can also include spreading malicious rumors or innuendoes, online sexual harassment.

Cyber-bullying can happen in chat rooms, on websites, on blogs or social networking profiles and via instant messaging and cell phone text messaging.

How widespread is cyber-bullying? The survey found that "9% of young Internet users said they were harassed online in the past year. 6% percent said someone was bothering or harassing them online and 3% said someone had posted or sent messages about them for other people to see. Also 3% of youth described an incident of distressing online harassment, which left them feeling "very or extremely upset or afraid." In a third of the cases, the harassment included "contact or attempts at contact by telephone, offline mail or in person."

The targets, according to the report, were 58% girls and 42% boys. "Girls were more likely than boys to experience distressing harassment (68% compared to 32%) The majority of harassment episodes (72%) happened to teenagers ages 14 to 17."

Of course there are many other issues of concern to teens and parents. Loss of reputation is a growing problem as teens put inappropriate information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

Teens posting pictures of teens in sexually provocative poses or in the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs may seem cool at the time but can come back to haunt them later, especially if discovered by school officials, potential employers, admission counselors or parents.

Kids need to understand the legal and academic consequences of illegal or unethical behavior – or the perception that either has occurred.

And, like the rest of us, they need to be aware that not everything they see on the Internet is necessarily true.



David found this website: http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/children/kidtips9-12.mspx

Safety tips

Here are some safety tips to consider as you guide your 9-12 year olds online:

Create a list of Internet house rules with input from your kids.


Keep Internet-connected computers in an open area and out of your kids' bedrooms.


Investigate Internet-filtering tools (such as MSN Premium's Parental Controls) as a complement—not a replacement—for parental supervision.


Talk with your kids about their online friends and activities just as you would about their other activities.


Insist that your kids never agree to meet an online friend.


Allow your kids to use only monitored chat rooms on reputable kids' sites.


Teach your kids to never give out personal information when using e-mail, chat rooms, or instant messaging, filling out registration forms and personal profiles, and entering online contests.


Teach your kids not to download programs without your permission—they might unknowingly download spyware or a computer virus. Also teach your kids that file-sharing and taking text, images, or artwork from the Web may infringe on copyright laws.


Consider giving your child a limited user account to help keep them from participating in activities without your knowledge.


Encourage your kids to tell you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and remind your kids they are not in trouble for bringing something to your attention. Praise their behavior and encourage them to come to you again if the same thing happens. Read more about how to deal with online predators and cyberbullies.


Talk to your kids about online pornography and direct them to good sites about health and sexuality.


Insist on access to your kids' e-mail and instant messaging accounts to make sure they're not talking to strangers.


Talk to your kids about responsible, ethical, online behavior. They should not be using the Internet to spread gossip, bully, or make threats against others.

Ryan tabor found out this on http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm

external image brows.jpgIntroduction
While on-line computer exploration opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life, they can be exposed to dangers as they hit the road exploring the information highway. There are individuals who attempt to sexually exploit children through the use of on-line services and the Internet. Some of these individuals gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts. These individuals are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money, and energy in this process. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children. They will be aware of the latest music, hobbies, and interests of children. These individuals attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations.
There are other individuals, however, who immediately engage in sexually explicit conversation with children. Some offenders primarily collect and trade child-pornographic images, while others seek face-to-face meetings with children via on-line contacts. It is important for parents to understand that children can be indirectly victimized through conversation, i.e. "chat," as well as the transfer of sexually explicit information and material. Computer-sex offenders may also be evaluating children they come in contact with on-line for future face-to-face contact and direct victimization. Parents and children should remember that a computer-sex offender can be any age or sex the person does not have to fit the caricature of a dirty, unkempt, older man wearing a raincoat to be someone who could harm a child.
Children, especially adolescents, are sometimes interested in and curious about sexuality and sexually explicit material. They may be moving away from the total control of parents and seeking to establish new relationships outside their family. Because they may be curious, children/adolescents sometimes use their on-line access to actively seek out such materials and individuals. Sex offenders targeting children will use and exploit these characteristics and needs. Some adolescent children may also be attracted to and lured by on-line offenders closer to their age who, although not technically child molesters, may be dangerous. Nevertheless, they have been seduced and manipulated by a clever offender and do not fully understand or recognize the potential danger of these contacts.
This guide was prepared from actual investigations involving child victims, as well as investigations where law enforcement officers posed as children. Further information on protecting your child on-line may be found in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Child Safety on the Information Highway and Teen Safety on the Information Highway pamphlets.
What Are Signs That Your Child Might Be At Risk On-line?
Your child spends large amounts of time on-line, especially at night.
Most children that fall victim to computer-sex offenders spend large amounts of time on-line, particularly in chat rooms. They may go on-line after dinner and on the weekends. They may be latchkey kids whose parents have told them to stay at home after school. They go on-line to chat with friends, make new friends, pass time, and sometimes look for sexually explicit information. While much of the knowledge and experience gained may be valuable, parents should consider monitoring the amount of time spent on-line.
Children on-line are at the greatest risk during the evening hours. While offenders are on-line around the clock, most work during the day and spend their evenings on-line trying to locate and lure children or seeking pornography.
You find pornography on your child's computer.
Pornography is often used in the sexual victimization of children. Sex offenders often supply their potential victims with pornography as a means of opening sexual discussions and for seduction. Child pornography may be used to show the child victim that sex between children and adults is "normal." Parents should be conscious of the fact that a child may hide the pornographic files on diskettes from them. This may be especially true if the computer is used by other family members.
Your child receives phone calls from men you don't know or is making calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you don't recognize.external image phone2.jpg
While talking to a child victim on-line is a thrill for a computer-sex offender, it can be very cumbersome. Most want to talk to the children on the telephone. They often engage in "phone sex" with the children and often seek to set up an actual meeting for real sex.
While a child may be hesitant to give out his/her home phone number, the computer-sex offenders will give out theirs. With Caller ID, they can readily find out the child's phone number. Some computer-sex offenders have even obtained toll-free 800 numbers, so that their potential victims can call them without their parents finding out. Others will tell the child to call collect. Both of these methods result in the computer-sex offender being able to find out the child's phone number.
Your child receives mail, gifts, or packages from someone you don't know.
As part of the seduction process, it is common for offenders to send letters, photographs, and all manner of gifts to their potential victims. Computer-sex offenders have even sent plane tickets in order for the child to travel across the country to meet them.
Your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
A child looking at pornographic images or having sexually explicit conversations does not want you to see it on the screen.
Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.
Computer-sex offenders will work very hard at driving a wedge between a child and their family or at exploiting their relationship. They will accentuate any minor problems at home that the child might have. Children may also become withdrawn after sexual victimization.
Your child is using an on-line account belonging to someone else.
Even if you don't subscribe to an on-line service or Internet service, your child may meet an offender while on-line at a friend's house or the library. Most computers come preloaded with on-line and/or Internet software. Computer-sex offenders will sometimes provide potential victims with a computer account for communications with them.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Child Is Communicating With A Sexual Predator On-line?
  • Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Tell them about the dangers of computer-sex offenders.
  • Review what is on your child's computer. If you don't know how, ask a friend, coworker, relative, or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.
  • Use the Caller ID service to determine who is calling your child. Most telephone companies that offer Caller ID also offer a service that allows you to block your number from appearing on someone else's Caller ID. Telephone companies also offer an additional service feature that rejects incoming calls that you block. This rejection feature prevents computer-sex offenders or anyone else from calling your home anonymously.
  • Devices can be purchased that show telephone numbers that have been dialed from your home phone. Additionally, the last number called from your home phone can be retrieved provided that the telephone is equipped with a redial feature. You will also need a telephone pager to complete this retrieval.
  • This is done using a numeric-display pager and another phone that is on the same line as the first phone with the redial feature. Using the two phones and the pager, a call is placed from the second phone to the pager. When the paging terminal beeps for you to enter a telephone number, you press the redial button on the first (or suspect) phone. The last number called from that phone will then be displayed on the pager.
  • Monitor your child's access to all types of live electronic communications (i.e., chat rooms, instant messages, Internet Relay Chat, etc.), and monitor your child's e-mail. Computer-sex offenders almost always meet potential victims via chat rooms. After meeting a child on-line, they will continue to communicate electronically often via e-mail.
Should any of the following situations arise in your household, via the Internet or on-line service, you should immediately contact your local or state law enforcement agency, the FBI, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:
  1. Your child or anyone in the household has received child pornography;
  2. Your child has been sexually solicited by someone who knows that your child is under 18 years of age;
  3. Your child has received sexually explicit images from someone that knows your child is under the age of 18.
If one of these scenarios occurs, keep the computer turned off in order to preserve any evidence for future law enforcement use. Unless directed to do so by the law enforcement agency, you should not attempt to copy any of the images and/or text found on the computer.
What Can You Do To Minimize The Chances Of An On-line Exploiter Victimizing Your Child?
  • Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger.
  • Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household.
  • Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. While electronic chat can be a great place for children to make new friends and discuss various topics of interest, it is also prowled by computer-sex offenders. Use of chat rooms, in particular, should be heavily monitored. While parents should utilize these mechanisms, they should not totally rely on them.
  • Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why.
  • Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms.
  • Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child's school, the public library, and at the homes of your child's friends. These are all places, outside your normal supervision, where your child could encounter an on-line predator.
  • Understand, even if your child was a willing participant in any form of sexual exploitation, that he/she is not at fault and is the victim. The offender always bears the complete responsibility for his or her actions.
  • Instruct your children:
      • to never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line;
      • to never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or on-line service to people they do not personally know;
      • to never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number;
      • to never download pictures from an unknown source, as there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images;
      • to never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing;
      • that whatever they are told on-line may or may not be true.




Frequently Asked Questions:
My child has received an e-mail advertising for a pornographic website, what should I do?



Generally, advertising for an adult, pornographic website that is sent to an e-mail address does not violate federal law or the current laws of most states. In some states it may be a violation of law if the sender knows the recipient is under the age of 18. Such advertising can be reported to your service provider and, if known, the service provider of the originator. It can also be reported to your state and federal legislators, so they can be made aware of the extent of the problem.

Is any service safer than the others?



Sex offenders have contacted children via most of the major on-line services and the Internet. The most important factors in keeping your child safe on-line are the utilization of appropriate blocking software and/or parental controls, along with open, honest discussions with your child, monitoring his/her on-line activity, and following the tips in this pamphlet.

Should I just forbid my child from going on-line?



There are dangers in every part of our society. By educating your children to these dangers and taking appropriate steps to protect them, they can benefit from the wealth of information now available on-line.

Helpful Definitions:
Internet - An immense, global network that connects computers via telephone lines and/or fiber networks to storehouses of electronic information. With only a computer, a modem, a telephone line and a service provider, people from all over the world can communicate and share information with little more than a few keystrokes.
Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) - Electronic networks of computers that are connected by a central computer setup and operated by a system administrator or operator and are distinguishable from the Internet by their "dial-up" accessibility. BBS users link their individual computers to the central BBS computer by a modem which allows them to post messages, read messages left by others, trade information, or hold direct conversations. Access to a BBS can, and often is, privileged and limited to those users who have access privileges granted by the systems operator.
Commercial On-line Service (COS) - Examples of COSs are America Online, Prodigy, CompuServe and Microsoft Network, which provide access to their service for a fee. COSs generally offer limited access to the Internet as part of their total service package.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) - Examples of ISPs are Erols, Concentric and Netcom. These services offer direct, full access to the Internet at a flat, monthly rate and often provide electronic-mail service for their customers. ISPs often provide space on their servers for their customers to maintain World Wide Web (WWW) sites. Not all ISPs are commercial enterprises. Educational, governmental and nonprofit organizations also provide Internet access to their members.
Public Chat Rooms - Created, maintained, listed and monitored by the COS and other public domain systems such as Internet Relay Chat. A number of customers can be in the public chat rooms at any given time, which are monitored for illegal activity and even appropriate language by systems operators (SYSOP). Some public chat rooms are monitored more frequently than others, depending on the COS and the type of chat room. Violators can be reported to the administrators of the system (at America On-line they are referred to as terms of service [TOS]) which can revoke user privileges. The public chat rooms usually cover a broad range of topics such as entertainment, sports, game rooms, children only, etc.
Electronic Mail (E-Mail) - A function of BBSs, COSs and ISPs which provides for the transmission of messages and files between computers over a communications network similar to mailing a letter via the postal service. E-mail is stored on a server, where it will remain until the addressee retrieves it. Anonymity can be maintained by the sender by predetermining what the receiver will see as the "from" address. Another way to conceal one's identity is to use an "anonymous remailer," which is a service that allows the user to send an e-mail message repackaged under the remailer's own header, stripping off the originator's name completely.
Chat - Real-time text conversation between users in a chat room with no expectation of privacy. All chat conversation is accessible by all individuals in the chat room while the conversation is taking place.
Instant Messages - Private, real-time text conversation between two users in a chat room.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) - Real-time text conversation similar to public and/or private chat rooms on COS.
Usenet (Newsgroups) - Like a giant, cork bulletin board where users post messages and information. Each posting is like an open letter and is capable of having attachments, such as graphic image files (GIFs). Anyone accessing the newsgroup can read the postings, take copies of posted items, or post responses. Each newsgroup can hold thousands of postings. Currently, there are over 29,000 public newsgroups and that number is growing daily. Newsgroups are both public and/or private. There is no listing of private newsgroups. A user of private newsgroups has to be invited into the newsgroup and be provided with the newsgroup's address.

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