Is your child sending or receiving pornographic or nude pictures? I know you just felt disgusted and said, “NOT MY KID”. However, It HAS happened. And not with a teenage but a pre-teen child. Imagine how you and your family would feel knowing that these pictures were sent to others over the internet. Mom and Dad; Have you ever heard of : KIK, KIK Video, Omegle, snapchat or Spycalc?
These are applications “apps” that your child can download to get free messages, send pics for free and meet strangers. All without any protections or limits. “Well, I do not allow my daughter to use text”. Well mom she is, and it is free. She doesn’t need your data plan. THIS IS REAL. THIS IS HAPPENING NOW! Go on youtube and search these apps and you will see for yourself.
What can be done about it? Well, if you go and delete the apps there will just be more for your child to download. New apps are being created daily. That leaves you and your children.
TALK TO THEM!!!!!!!
- Tell your pre-teen and teen what happens when they send a nude photo to someone they think is their friend. Once it is on the web it can be sent anywhere and be there forever.
- Tell them how it isn’t another young girl/boy but a nasty man and yes even a woman they are chatting with. And even worse someone who may like what they see so much they decide to come and try and find where you live.
- Tell them that it is a crime for them to take a photo or video of themselves. That is considered Child Pornography and they can be charged for having it or putting those out over these apps, e-mails or texts. Yes, the child who sends it can be charged just as that criminal who requested it can be charged.
- Go over who these predators are that have just been given a great means to find and stalk your child by these free apps. We cannot stop the apps but we can help our children make the right decision by not chatting or sending these pictures and videos to others. Even their friends!
Think I am over exaggerating this? Okay, go on youtube and look up “kik trolling” These are kids actually pretending to be young girls and trying to get creepy guys to ask for nude pictures. The kids then bust them saying they are putting them on youtube. Now how many criminals are out there doing this that kids actually are hunting them for fun?????
Please talk to your child. It only takes a few minutes. Ask them about these apps. Ask them to show you their phone. Admit you are old (to them you are) and they know more than you about these apps. Though they know more than us about these apps they do not realize how many sex offenders are out there waiting for an opportunity to fulfill their desires. Yes we wish to shield our children from the harsh realities of life. But just like Lockdown drills it isn’t like when we went to school. Some uncomfortable information must be shared with our kids and if that is what it takes to protect them, then so be it
There are hundreds of pages written on Internet safety. We want to get right to the main points. If you are a parent please take the time to read the following pages. Included will be links to web pages devoted to safety on the Internet.
2) SENDING PICS
3) INSTANT MESSENGER
5) PLAYING ONLINE GAMES
6) DOWNLOADING MUSIC
CHILD SAFETY WHILE SURFING THE WEB:
There will come a time when your child is exposed to the World Wide Web, if not already. This may be at home, a friends house, a smart phone or at school. Is it something to be concerned about? Yes. Is it something parents need to monitor? Yes. Letting your child on the Internet unsupervised is like letting your child walk around Central Park alone at night. So, should you go and pull the plug on the computer or take their phone away? Not so fast.
Do you know what your children are doing on the Internet? This isn't too hard to figure out. What did you do when you were young? Talk on the phone? Play games? Make new friends? I hear a lot of parents saying, My son/daughter comes home and goes right on the computer. This is great because you know where they are and they cannot get hurt using the computer right? WRONG!
Lets take the typical situation. Your child gets home from school and goes right on the x-box, WII or playstation. Do you know they can chat and talk to people on there? Maybe they are not on a game until you walk in the room. Are they in a chat room? Are they instant messaging each other? Are they looking up adult material? (No you do not need a credit card to get into millions of these adult sites). Where is this computer located? Do you ever look where your child has been? By doing that it could be construed as you not trusting them. And you shouldn't! Do you trust them to go camping with friends without adult supervision? NO. Do you trust them to go to a party where there isn't going to be adults? NO. Do you trust them in Central Park alone at night? NO. Same here. DO NOT TRUST YOUR CHILDREN ON THE INTERNET OR YOU MAY NOT HAVE YOUR CHILD ANYMORE. Yes it is that serious. Remember Mom and Dad you are not your son or daughters friend you are their caregiver. It is up to you to keep them safe. By leaving your child unsupervised while they are online is not keeping them safe. By giving them a smart phone and not checking it is not keeping them safe.
Not my child. No sir. My child would NEVER do anything wrong on the Internet. Then only to satisfy my curiosity, Lets just go ahead and read the following: (you might be surprised)
Ø Where is the computer, laptop or Ipad? It needs to be in a room that all of the family uses. Such as: the living room, kitchen, den, or the hallway in between. To let your child use the computer alone in a room is where they can go anywhere they want. Does it violate their privacy? Yes! And it should! Children have no privacy while online. It is your house and your rules. That gives you the right to look at it anytime you want. That should be your rule. That way they will stay out of trouble.
Ø What are they doing online? They can be: playing games, chatting, instant messaging, harassing people on facebook, downloading music, making a website or looking at websites. Lets look at the dangers of some of these.
§ CHATTING- We investigated a 15 year old girl who met a 34 year old man from Keansburg NJ. They met chatting. A "friendship" developed and eventually he came to Hopatcong. They had a sexual relationship right at her house. How? Mom did not monitor what her daughter was doing on the internet.
Chatting is the most DANGEROUS activity that your child can be doing on the internet A chat room is like a big auditorium. Inside people are talking about anything they want. All under screen names. The sign on the door going in says teen sports. So you figure this room has all teens in it talking about sports right? Not so. Anyone can be in there. Look at the screen name ASHLEY12TOCHEER4. Take that name apart. What is my name? Ashley. What is my age? 12. What do I like to do? Cheer. Nope. I am actually Officer Kmetz. The screen name means nothing. Anyone can have as many names as they like. They can be whoever they want to be. Maybe even your childs best friend. Lets look at a predator. They are someone who knows what kids like. Has your child ever said I hate you when they got mad? Well their friend on the internet will never make them mad. Their friend will tell them what they want to hear. Their friend on the internet who they think is a 12-year old boy may be a 45-year old predator who is also a psychologist. Who would win in that mind game?
Many times I have been on the internet under the name Ashley12tocheer4. Every time sooner or later someone asks for ASL. That means Age, Sex and Location. When I answer, it usually quickly turns sexual with them asking do I like older men. Sometimes they want to send a pic or they ask if I have a cam. This departmnet took a report of a 15 year old Hopatcong female that posed nude in front of her webcam. These pictures were posted on a website for the entire world to see. How could this have been avoided? NO CAMS! Especially when the computer is in your child's room and they are on it unsupervised. We also took a report of a 11- year old who was doing sexual acts to herself and sending them through her smart phone to what she believed was a 11-year old boy. Do you think those parents ever thought their 11-year old would do such a thing? No. And you dont think your child will either now do you? That is the WRONG mindset. NOT MY CHILD will eventually lead to YES YOUR CHILD
So you bring this up to your child and he/she says. Oh, I know that. I dont answer them when they ask for A/S/L. II only chat with my friends So does Mr. Predator give up? Nope. He then switches identities or just tries to strike up other conversations. There are predators that keep notes on screen names. They cyberstalk. They get pieces of information and then put them all together to find the person. For instance:
· We are on the internet in teen sports. Ashley12tocheer4 gets into a conversation with Ihatemeanguys13. (He is using the soft, kind, loving guy approach with this screen name).
· I look up his profile but he doesn't have one, or it is bogus anyway.
· We talk about sports and I tell him I love to cheer and I am captain of the warriors Cheerleaders.
· He asks me if we are any good. I proudly tell him we won the ECA nationals this year. A few moments later he comes back and tells me Hopatcong is a nice town. WOW! How did he know that?
Easy. Lets take a look:
ü He wrote down Warriors cheerleading from our conversation
ü He wrote down ECA Nationals cheerleading I told him we won that.
ü He types in ECA NATIONALS in a search engine. .
ü He finds ECA finals/nationals cheerleading championships and clicks on it.
ü He looks for winners and clicks on it.
ü He goes down the list looking for warriors. There he finds Hopatcong Warriors. The only warriors on the whole board.
ü He bounces this off of me by saying Hopatcong is a nice place to see my reaction. A teen may say: How did you know I live in Hopatcong? Or Yeah it is, Do you live here too?
ü Now he goes to the search engine and looks up Hopatcong Warriors.
ü He finds the website: The #1team: The Warriors as a web page.
ü There he finds a list of every cheerleaders name. (At least their first names.) By now you can see where he will go with this. So you have 19 on your team?
Your child is no match for a determined, dedicated preferential sex offender. These men mail plane tickets to children in other states so they can meet up with them. These men will drive for days across states to meet a child. They have money, they have time and they have learned what children want to hear. It is your job to protect them.
§ SENDING PICS- We are in the age of smart phones, So what is wrong with your child sending a picture or video of herself/himself over the net? Well, you dont know where that picture or video will end up. Your child sends it to a friend who then sends it to another friend who sends it to a website and now your childs picture or video is on the Internet for everyone to see. (There are free teen adult sites that have thousands of pictures and web cams of teens just like your son/daughter). Not only that, but if your child is chatting with a predator, they will surely want a pic. Of course Mr. Predator doesnt say Hey kid give me a picture so it will help me find you as you leave school. He might say. You know we have been chatting for a long time. It would be so nice if you would send me a pic of you so I can put a face to the screen name.
§ PLAYING GAMES Some online games are downloaded and played alone. Others are played with others using the Internet in real time. Some of these game rooms have a section for chat. I went to play a helicopter attack game and looked at the chat box next to the game. There I read someone asking a child When are you ever going to tell me about yourself? The word "ever" tells me he has been trying to find out about this child for a while. It would be advisable to have your children show you what games they are playing over the Internet.
§ DOWNLOADING MUSIC As you may have heard on the news many people are being sued by the recording industry because people are downloading music without paying for it. There are web sites where you can download music from other people without paying for it. Most settlements are around $3,000.00. see www.riaa.com for more on these lawsuits
HERE ARE OTHER LINKS RELATED TO PROTECTING CHILDREN ONLINE:
ONLINE AUCTIONS: CAVEAT EMPTOR- LET THE BUYER BEWARE! The problem this department has encountered with online auctions is people not getting the merchandise that they paid for. Or, it is of far less value. For instance, you buy a rare item that is listed as mint condition. You pay the seller. It either never shows up or you get something of less value. What do you do? Can you get your money back from someone who lives in Florida? Will the Hopatcong Police go to Florida, find the person who scammed you and bring them to justice? Well it isnt that easy. This department will assist you by getting in touch with other authorities and trying to find the actual human being who is responsible for the scam. However, it involves the work of other agencies, other states and turns out to be very time consuming.
Rather than reinvent the wheel you may view all the precautions one should take whether being a buyer or seller on an Internet auction site. Below is the link to the Federal Trade Commissions website dealing with online auctions. We highly recommend you read it before you buy or sell anything on an auction site.