President of Council's Message....
The Internet world is a treasure chest of knowledge, information and a valuable tool in many of our daily lives. It can also be a dangerous place for children. That message was quite clear and also the focal point of a seminar I recently attended called "Cybersafety For Kids On-line". The Internet has no community boundaries and the threat of a child chatting to someone in another part of the county whose intent is to exploit a young one is quite real. The stories, plots and accounts discussed, many with unpleasant endings, certainly gave me a wake up call.
Because so many use the Internet daily for productive reasons, we tend to take for granted that our children are "surfing the net" in a safe manner and would never bump into any trouble.
But they could be an easy target for con artists on the net who are looking for the unknowing or unsupervised child.
A lot you can do to protect your child or grandchild is loaded with common sense, but surprisingly, many parents have never gone over the safety rules or have never checked on the net activity. You need to protect your child and get started with simple rules. Listed below are a few snippets from the seminar that I'd like to share with you:
Children should know that although they may be alone in a room, once they log onto the Internet, the rules do change. There are computer savvy individuals who can find out who you are and where you live.
Talk to your children about exploitation, pornography, hate literature, excessive violence and other issues that are of concern to you. Tell them what to do if they are confronted with this material.
You should monitor when your child is on-line. If he or she becomes defensive or uneasy when you walk into the room this is a good sign that they might be up to something uncommon.
Your child should always let you know if they find scary or threatening material on the Internet.
Never give out any personal information including name, address, telephone number, school name or parents' name.
Tell them they must not agree to meet face-to-face with someone they have met on-line.
Never allow them to send a picture of themselves to anyone for any reason without your permission.
If your child receives threatening E-mail or other offensive material, save it and contact the police department.
The problem does exist and no child is immune to the potential pit falls. The frequency has increased and the Pennsylvania office of the Attorney General and the postal inspection service has a task force to combat child pornographers and other con artists. You can contact this task force by E-mail at Taskforce@attorneygeneral.gov or by calling the postal inspection service at 717-257-2330.
Please be proactive and take a few minutes and talk with your children for their protection. It could save them and you from a senseless act of crime.