P’POOL ASKS PARENTS FOR HELP IN PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM CYBER CRIMES AND CYBER BULLYING

Today as school resumes, parents all over Hopkins County are focused on their children being prepared for a successful year. Hopkins County Attorney, Todd P’Pool reminds parents that they also need to check up on the cyber activity surrounding their children and the information that enters their home.

“Social networking sites are here to stay and I strongly urge parents to stay informed on cyber safety and the daily internet activity of your children – you are the first line of defense,” warned P’Pool.

Children will meet new friends this year and will immediately connect on any number of social media sites. It is imperative that you know with whom you are connecting. Child predators take opportunities like a new school year, when they know your child will be flooded with new friend requests, to connect with your child. Talk to your children regularly about his or her online activities and experiences. “If your child uses any type of social networking application, you would be wise to review your child’s friends list(s) on a regular basis and make certain he or she is communicating only with people they actually know,” said P’Pool.

It is believed that more than half a million pedophiles are online every day. There are basically two types of pedophiles on the Internet—those who seek face-to-face meetings with children and those who are content to anonymously collect and trade child pornography images.

Those seeking face-to-face meetings create bogus identities online, sometimes posing as teenagers. Then they troll the Internet for easy victims—youngsters with low self-esteem, problems with their parents, or a shortage of money. The pedophile might find a 14-year-old girl, for example, who has posted seemingly harmless information on a social media site for anyone to see. The pedophile sends a message saying he goes to high school in a nearby town and likes the same music or TV shows she likes.

“We see the dangers of these crimes in our office every day, it is my hope that with your help, we can protect your child from becoming a victim,” said P’Pool.

Cyber Bullying is also prevalent at this time of year. Set clear expectations with your child about what he or she should do if they are the target of a bullying communication. Such as, immediately tell a parent, ignore or block the message and report incidents of a threatening nature to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and website on which the message was transmitted.

To ensure that your child does not engage in cyber bullying activities, you should communicate a clear set of rules regarding what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior on the Internet to your child. Explain that unacceptable behaviors include:

• Revealing his or her password to others;
• Sending email messages, instant messages, or texts to others disguising himself or herself as another person;
• Spreading rumors or false information about others;
• Sending rude, harassing or threatening email messages, instant messages or texts.
• Creating websites that ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate others; and/or
• Posting on websites or disseminating embarrassing or inappropriate pictures or images of others.

Working together, we can protect the families of Hopkins County and give every child the opportunity to have a safe and successful school year.

Leave a reply