With the ever-increasing development of computer technology and the increasing number of people who are computer literate, it is much more likely that our children may be victimized or exploited in a computer environment. The “Information Super Highway” which is made up of commercial on-line Internet services, (example: America Online) which allow millions of people around the world to communicate anonymously in a virtually uncontrolled electronic world.
Advise your children to observe the following safety rules whenever they are on-line. Remind them that no matter how safe or friendly a BBS seems (and this includes the major on-line services), there is always a potential for danger.
- Never give out any personal information about themselves–particularly realnames, addresses, phone number, financial information, etc. to anyone that they meet on computer bulletin boards.
- Report all electronic harassment and/or abuse to their parents. As parents, you should notify the SYSOP (systems operator) of the problem. If the SYSOP does not give you satisfaction in stopping the abuse, notify the police.
- Never set up face-to-face meetings with anyone they have met on the Internet. If anyone you meet on-line wants to meet you tell your parents.
- Safeguard all credit card and telephone card numbers. Parents should pay for Internet service by money order whenever possible.
Warning Signs of Possible Computer Crime Problems
- Lack of interest in self and appearance, grooming, or indications of lack of sleep.
- Computer and modem running late at night, (even when unattended.)
- Computer files ending in GIF, JPG, BMP, TIF, PCX, DL, GL, FLI. These are picture or graphic image files and parents should know what they illustrate. Image files may be pictures of a sexual nature and can be of very high quality, moving, and even include sound.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Children
- Learn about computers.
- Talk to your kids about their use of the computer and the dangers on-line.
- Be involved with your kids in using the computer. This is a great opportunity to spend time with your child.
- Keep the computer in a common area of your home. Virtually every case where children were involved in computer crimes or were victims of abuse via computer, computers were in the children’s room.
- Use the parental controls to restrict your childs use on the computer.