Cyber Crime Tips for Your Children
Parental and adult supervision is paramount to a child's protection and safety. Children cannot be criticized or blamed for making wrong choices if they are not old enough or skilled enough to make them to begin with. The responsibility for a young child's safety rests directly on the trusted adults in that child's life. Parents and guardians need to do their due diligence and check out adults who have access to their children, and children are never too old for a parent's or trusted adult's supervision.
The more involvement a parent takes in his or her child's life, the less likely it is that the child will seek that attention from a less savory and possibly dangerous source. There are no quick fixes or gimmicks that take the place of adult supervision and concern. It's up to all of us to ensure our children's safety and protection.
Safety Tips for Children while Online
There are some very important things that you need to keep in mind when you're on your computer at home or at your school, library, friend’s home, etc.:
- Be careful about posting pictures of yourself (if you must, don't post sexy ones or ones showing behavior you wouldn't want your mom, teacher, boss, or potential college advisor to see). Just because an older sibling has posted snaps on a site doesn't make it a smart or a safe idea. Pictures with identifiers like where you go to school can be shopping lists for online predators.
- Do not meet someone or have him or her visit you without the permission of your parents.
- Don't fill out any "fun" questionnaires that are forwarded to you, even if they're from your friends. Remember, you're in a world where everything can get forwarded. All those personal things about you could land in the hands of someone who could use them to harm you.
- Remember never to give out personal information such as your name, home address, school name, or telephone number in a chat room or on bulletin boards. Also, never send a picture of yourself to someone you chat with on the computer without your parent's permission.
- Never write to someone who has made you feel uncomfortable or scared.
- Remember that people online may not be who they say they are. Someone who says that "she" is a "12-year-old girl" could really be an older man or woman.
- Tell your parents right away if you read anything on the Internet that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- There's no such thing as "private" on the Internet. You may think so, but it's not true. People can find anything they want - and keep what you post - forever.
Precautions for Children
Children, keep in mind to:
- Always check first with your parents, guardians, or other trusted adults before going anywhere, doing anything, helping anyone, accepting anything, getting into a vehicle, or leaving with anyone.
- Always take a friend with you when going places or playing outside.
- Always tell someone no if they try to touch you or do things in ways that make me feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused, because it's okay for you to stand up for myself.
- Always tell your parents, guardians, or other trusted adults if anything happens to you.
Protecting Children from Sexual Predators
Follow these steps to protect your children from sexual predators:
- Learn the Facts - Realities, not trust, should influence your decisions regarding your child.
- Minimize Opportunity - If you eliminate or reduce one-adult/one-child situations, you’ll dramatically lower the risk of sexual abuse for your child.
- Talk About It - Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by talking openly about it.
- Stay Alert - Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused.
- Make a Plan - Learn where to go, who to call, and how to react.
- Act on Suspicions - The future well-being of a child is at stake.
- Get Involved - Volunteer and financially support organizations that fight the tragedy of child sexual abuse.
A child's safety is an adult's job. Children are often taught how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse - and that's important for them to learn - but it's no substitute for adult responsibility. We make sure children wear seat belts. We walk them across busy streets. We store toxic household cleaners out of reach. Why, then, would we leave the job of preventing child sexual abuse solely to children?
Imagine how difficult it is for a child to say "no" to a parent, a teacher, a coach, or clergy.
Even the adults we trust to protect children can't always be trusted. Coaches, teachers, clergy, and parents are authority figures children feel they can trust. Yet, a large percentage of those who sexually abuse children are from this group. These are adults who have the opportunity to "groom" children with affection and attention, making it difficult for children to identify certain behaviors as abuse.
And they know that children have been taught to "mind" them. This is why programs that focus on adult responsibility are essential.
If you suspect online "stalking" or sexual exploitation of a child, report it to your parents or someone you trust and call the Atlantis Police Department.
Should any Atlantis residents and their children wish to talk to an Officer, have any questions or concerns about internet safety, or if anyone has contacted you in the past online that made you feel uncomfortable in any way, call the department at 561-965-1700.