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High-Tech Predators: Protecting Your Family From Online Offenses

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

High-tech gadgets such as digital cameras, camera phones and computers allow us to share memories with friends and family giving them a 24-7 invitation into our lives. However, along with friends and family, we may also be inviting cyber-predators into our lives and home. And, the problem is most prevalent among tweens, teens and (very) young adults.

Experts emphasize that parents should take heed and warn their “children” of the perils that go along with wireless and internet capability.

They suggest that due to cyber-thieves and predators it’s imperative to KNOW exactly whom you are talking to and who can actually get access to your information.

In fact, in an experiment conducted with professional investigators notes that the phone number provided on a certain website yielded an immediate call to that number (in search of a “hypothetical” 12 year old girl).

With that noted, experts suggest the following precautions.

1. Do not respond to flaming (provocation)

2. Consider a genderless screen name

3. Avoid “flirting” online

4. Retain offensive and offending messages and immediately report them to your service provider.

5. Never give out any personal information about yourself or anyone else.

6. Get out (immediately) of a hostile or offensive online situation. Log off or surf elsewhere.

And, they list the following as signs of potential trouble and problems.

· Extensive hours spent on the computer or in the computer room.

· Privacy such as shutting windows on the computer is typical when others enter the room

· There is secrecy surrounding Internet activities.

· There are noticeable behavioral changes.

· There is a noticeable decline in schoolwork but increased activity in chat rooms and time spent on the Net.

· There are unexplained long distance telephone call charges.

· Refusal to let you see or know whom they are talking to or the sites they are visiting.

· Unexplained pictures on the computer.

Long Island Safety Articles > High-Tech Predators: Protecting Your Family From Online Offenses

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