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⇒ Parent Tips for Internet Safety
- Talk to your children about internet safety.
- Agree upon rules for Internet use before you allow them to go online.
Download a Family Contract for Internet Safety
- Do not hesitate to contact law enforcement.
Notify the police immediately if an online contact tries to meet with your child
- Do not allow your child to meet in person someone they met online.
If you choose to allow such a meeting, accompany your child and meet in a public place.
- Protect personal information.
Never allow your child to provide addresses, phone numbers, names or the name and location of your child’s school. Do not include personal information in an online profile. Pedophiles use profiles to find victims
- Keep online computers in a common room.
You should keep any computers which can access the internet in public areas of the home, not in your child’s bedroom.
- Educate your child on what is threatening and unsafe.
Teach your children to tell you if anything they see online makes them feel uncomfortable. Do not allow your child to respond to messages that are sexually suggestive, obscene or threatening. Forward such messages to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- See what they are doing.
Regularly have your children show you the websites they visit. Get to know their online friends just as you would their regular friends.
- Use parental controls and/or blocking software.
There are software packages available that allow you to manage such things as what time your children have access to the Internet, how long they can be on online, and what sites they can or cannot access.
- Check the web browser history files and cache on computers your children use.
Check what pages your child is visiting and how often they are viewing them.
- Do not allow your children to use chat rooms.
Even seemingly safe “kids” chat rooms can be dangerous.
- Maintain access to the accounts and profiles your child has.
Visit their MySpace, Facebook and other social networking pages to see what is posted. Randomly review your child’s e-mail account. Be prepared to set limits on their profiles and e-mail accounts.
- Educate yourself.
Learn about the acronyms they might be using.
⇒ Internet Safety & Solutions
- Get educated on Social Media sites.
- Conduct phone and computer checks
- Verify and monitor number of contacts in social media
- Check-in all Wi-Fi and Internet devices to a central location under adult supervision each night.
- Secure your home Wi-Fi
- Get educated about cost effective and commercially available protective software designed to monitor a child’s Internet activity and locations; some of which offer real time alerts to parents and adult guardians.
- Proactively be your child’s Internet protector and accept that they will likely resist your efforts. Remember, you’re their PARENT not their FRIEND!
- Learn about and attend training opportunities on this subject and, if an appropriate age, include your children in the training.
- Discuss with them what you learned.
- Maintain an open dialogue with your children
- Show them your love by your willingness to become knowledgeable on the subject and maintain consistent vigilance on their Internet activity. They may not appreciate it at the time but they will eventually understand.
⇒ Sources of Protective Software
⇒ Suspect Social Web Sites
Instagram – Lets users snap, edit and share photos as well as 15 second videos publicly or with network of followers. Public Photos is the default setting unless privacy settings are used. Private messaging is also an option through Instagram Direct. Teens can be on lookout for “Likes” or “Comments” as a measure of “success”, self-worth and popularity.
Snapchat – Lets users put time limit on photos/ videos sent before disappearing. Teens use to send embarrassing images believing they won’t go public. Persons receiving can take screen shot before image disappears and has also been hacked for recovery purposes. Makes “sexting” seem safe encouraging users to send sexual images; some of which have been used for extortion of sender commonly known as “Sextortion”.
Tumblr – Streaming scrapbook of texts, photos, and/or video/audio clip postings. Porn easy to find via raunchy, pornographic images & videos which often also depict violence, self-harm, drug use and offensive language. First profiles are public and viewable by any internet user with subsequent privacy settings only available via awkward workarounds. Posts are often copied and shared.
Kik-Messenger – A texting app that allows communication with strangers using their Kikusernames to find people to chat with. Also has a Kikcommunity blog where users can submit photos of themselves and screenshot messages; sometimes displaying user’s full name. App allegedly used in high profile crimes including murder of 13 yr old girl.
Vine – App that lets users view and post looping 6 second video clips. It is full of inappropriate videos including nudity and drug use. Videos posted, accounts followed and comments made on videos are all public by default.
Burn Note – Text messaging app that erases messages after a set period of time. It allows kids to communicate covertly and can be sent to others that don’t have the app. It can be used for hurtful messaging including bullying without remaining for identification of sender.
MeetMe – Chat and Meet New People – App has a “match” feature allowing users to “secretly admire” others and large user base can mean fast paced communication and guaranteed attention. It’s an open network allowing chatting with whomever is online. It also has a search locally feature allowing location capabilities of user’s mobile devices to find closest matches wherever they go. Detailed registration requires full name, age and zip code of applicant.
Omegle – Chat app that puts two strangers together to text chat or in a video chat room. It allows anonymous users and uses “interest boxes” to connect users based on shared interests. There is no registration required and is filled with people searching for sexual oriented chats. Language is explicit and is done live or via links to porn sites.
Yik Yak – Free social networking app allowing posts to the 500 geographically nearest (1.5 mile radius) Yik Yak users. By default a user’s exact location is shown via GPS. This app has cyberbullying, explicit sexual content, unintended location sharing and exposure to explicit information about drugs and alcohol. It has also been used to threaten other school students forcing school lockdowns and more.
After School – Anonymous messaging app that allows messages tied to the users schools. Prevalent in South Central Idaho schools with messages that include nude student photos, derogatory comments and name calling of other students and staff. App not available to parents or adults as it requires student identification or driver’s license to enroll and can also be accessed via a student’s Facebook account. Often used for bullying other students at risk of suicide or other self- destructive behavior.
Calculator Plus – Secret messaging app disguised as harmless calculator app requiring a secret code to access. Used for transmitting messages hidden from parental supervision.
Grindr, Manhunt & Blendr – Grindr and Manhunt cater to men as a gay dating site while Blendr caters to both sexes. These are free apps, some which have location capability and require photos of users. heavily used by male predators intent on contacting users that are obvious minors and arranging a meet.
Video Games – Internet capability to play commonly used video games with strangers, some of whom are adult predators posing as child game players. Gamers are encouraged to engage in conversation and ultimately meet the other “gamer”.
Whisper – An anonymous social “confessional” app allowing users to post whatever intimate thoughts they have along with an image. Messages often “dark” and sexual in nature with many nude photos and accompanying shared secrets. Has a “hook up” feature encouraging users to exchange personal information and then meeting.
Skout – A flirting app that allows users to sign up as teens or adults. It encourages comment, posts, pictures chats with other users. Sends notifications of other users in their geographic area or if a user “checks” them out. There is no age verification of users allowing adults to contact teens and teens to contact adults.
Periscope; You Now – Broadcast, Chat & Watch – Lets kids stream and watch live broadcasts and comment or buy “gold bars” to give to other users. Goal is to get lots of viewers, start trending and grow you fan base. Users can do or say anything and can respond to viewers in real time. Lots of profanity and sharing of personal information with anonymous viewers. Often broadcast from bedrooms sharing intimate moments with strangers.
Pokemon-Go – Game feature is known as a “Lure” which allows predators/ criminals to set a location for a player to go to. Game tracks you and can access your photos and account information.
Musical.ly – This free to purchase app from ITunes allows users to create and share 15-second videos of themselves lip-syncing music and may also include dancing to the music. It is supposed to be restricted to age 13 and older due to drug use and sexual content; including nudity. It attracts child sexual predators requiring a “Private” setting to restrict recipients.
WhatsApp – Independent platform for exchanging unlimited text, audio, video and photo messages which are not recorded on phones and do not allow parental review.
Ask.fm – Used by teens to abuse and bully others anonymously. Linked to teen suicides around the world.
This information is for distribution only in conjunction with presentations by the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Coalition.