Protect kids from Net predators and harmful material

Online safety for children

As parents we face the challenge of allowing our children access to the Internet while needing to protect them from the harmful aspects of being online and exposed. How do we shield our children from the dangers online predators, phishing scams, pornography and other threats to their safety, privacy and personal development?

The White House OnlineA typical 12-year-old might like to visit the White House online and learn about the President and his family. Until very recently, if she typed www.whitehouse.com instead of the correct URL of www.whitehouse.gov, she'd be directed to an "adult" site with graphic pornography. This has recently been "addressed" and the government now owns the dotcom site, but until recently, this was a hardcore pornographic site.

The FBI's Parent's Guide to Internet Safety

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. See a report by the FBI titled, "What Are Signs That Your Child Might Be At Risk On-line?"

This is the email filtering solution we use - because it works!

Children at Risk

A recent study finds that sometimes girls rely too much on their own judgment in making decisions about how to behave online. 30 percent of girls report that they have been sexually harassed in a chat room, but only 7 percent told their mothers or fathers...

When asked how they know what is safe or unsafe behavior on the Internet, 84 percent of online respondents cited their own common sense. By contrast, 51 percent of these girls cited learning from parents, 46 percent said television and the media, 29 percent said teachers, 29 percent said friends, and 4 percent said, "Nothing is that bad online because it is not really real."

Source: The Girl Scout Research Institute

Phishing and pharming vulnerability

Two terms that are new to the Internet danger scene are phishing and pharming. These are terms for scams used to mislead recipients. In all cases, the trick is to get you to believe that the person contacting you represents a legitimate entity. Educated and alert adults fall for these schemes every day, unprepared children are putty in the hands of these fraudsters.

Phishing coerces unsuspecting people into revealing personal and confidential identity information such as financial specifics, usernames and passwords, SSNs, etc. Pharming often uses SpyWare to hijack users browsers and send them to deceptive websites for the purpose of obtaining personal data.

How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘ Phishing’ Scam by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Have you received email with a message that says...

“We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.” Learn more...

The Phishing and Crimeware Map The Anti-Phishing Working Group is a volunteer organization where you can report phishing emails, pharming sites and crimeware and help stop this insidious threat to e-commerce.

Oprah's Show on Internet Predators (Click Here)

Oprah recently aired a show about Internet predators. During the show, she talked about the profile of a stalked child, what types of children may be vulnerable to sex offenders, and signs to look for in your child. We highly recommend that you visit her site to read about these issues. To see the highlights from the program or acquire a transcript of the show, click here.

1 in 5 children have been sexually solicited online

SOUTHAMPTON, PA, 5/09/2004 — Many people equate “Internet predators” with parking lot ankle slashers, alligators in the sewer, and other so-called “urban legends.” The thought of people using Instant Messenger with the express purpose of luring children for sex is outrageous to most, yet it happens, over and over and over. Proof of this can be found by keeping an eye on the Delaware County Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, headed up by Lt. David C. Peifer. Almost every single week, their detectives lure would-be Internet predators by posing as children in chat rooms. In fact, a recent study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that 1 in 5 children have been sexually solicited online.

Unsolicited Pornography

We have all discovered that our e-mail addresses are not safe from spam, unsolicited electronic junk mail. Unfortunately, much of this spam is of a nature that no parent would choose for their child to view. Worse yet is the tasteless education that awaits any unsuspecting visitor clicking an e-mail link promising friendship and entertainment. Often, the sleaziest sites hide behind imagery that falls short of describing the true nature of their site.

It is possible to block most offensive email, and the majority of pornographic and other potentially harmful Web sites. This process is called "filtering". See the links below for more information.

To protect your family you should do these things immediately:

Sign-up with a filtering-enabled ISP for your Internet access
Configure your e-mail client (Outlook, Eudora, etc.) to filter offensive or pornographic spam
Consider letting your kids earn their "web license" by engaging in the Clicky or NetSmartz Kids activities.
Talk to your kids! Make sure they understand that their safety is at risk online. Give them real examples of the kinds of things that can happen online and what they should do if they encounter it. And, encourage your kids to adopt what they already know about safety and proper behavior to the online world.