StrAnger danger by alendar


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									  Click      a technology guide for parents

  Cyberspace is making communication more exciting every day, but
  there is a dark side. responsible parenting means putting safety
  measures into place to ensure your child’s online life is predator-proof.
  By Julie mcglone

        here is a world of interaction        making them feel uncomfortable,        being brought to justice through      Mr McKie says that it is important
        going on in cyberspace, most          without the fear that they’ll be cut   the special Child exploitation and    that parents take an active interest
        of it fun and educational.            off from accessing online activity.”   sex Crimes squad (CesC).              in their children’s online activity
  But there is a dark side – the                                                                                           – especially if they provide access
                                              And that’s the crunch. Children        “Parents will find some good
  equivalent of “stranger danger” is                                                                                       at home.
                                              today use their online world for       information about how to monitor
  a threat online, and many parents
                                              virtually every learning and social    and detect problems online at our     “They have to have knowledge of
  don’t fully understand how to
                                              activity. The fear of being “cut       website         the technology, the benefits and
  identify or combat it.
                                              off” is often far greater than the     which has links to the CesC squad     the risks involved,” he explains.
  David McKie and Alison Benoit               discomfort or confusion they           and gives tips and links so you can
  from the Department of education            might be experiencing through          better understand who is chatting     “Trust has to be the driving
  and Training’s student Welfare              communications from                    to your kids.”                        force behind this interest –
  Directorate are well aware of the           potential predators.                                                         the child needs to understand
                                                                                     Mr McKie and Ms Benoit point
  issues in keeping children safe.                                                                                         that parental monitoring of a
                                              There are horror stories of            out that there is a collaborative
                                                                                                                           situation is not ‘snoopervision’
  “Our focus is on getting students           teenagers being lured into             program in place with NsW Police
                                                                                                                           but supervision.”
  to raise issues when they get               chatting with new “friends”            and NsW Public schools with
  uncomfortable with anything                 who, over a period of weeks or         modules on all types of issues, and   While it might take a bit of
  online,” Ms Benoit says.                    even months, build up an online        one of these is cybercrime. The       negotiation, Mr McKie insists that
                                              relationship of trust and kindness.    modules aim to raise students’        some monitoring should happen
  “It’s up to parents and                     eventually, they will ask for more     awareness of the consequences         in the home. “If it’s just left to go
  teachers to ensure children                 information – phone numbers,           of involvement in crime and anti-     unchecked, then that’s not good.”
  have the skills they need                   photographs, addresses – and then      social behaviour.
  to identify risk and take                   will suggest a meeting.
  extra precautions                                                                  “Police talk to individual            not all doom and gloom
                                              A child may think they’re off to
  against predators.”                                                                principals and come up with           Parents face the real challenge
                                              meet another teenager but could,
                                                                                     a joint program of crime              of keeping a clear head when it
  Mr McKie says schools have very             in fact, encounter an adult.
                                                                                     prevention workshops,”                comes to monitoring their child’s
  strict filtering programs installed.
                                              Law enforcement agencies all over      Ms Benoit says.                       use of the Internet or mobile
  “But of course, online access is            the world, including New south                                               phones, as children will react
                                                                                     “Police will then go into the
  provided by parents in the home             Wales Police, have set up a special                                          badly if their access to this vital
                                                                                     schools and talk to kids with
  as well, so kids have to feel safe in       arm to deal with cyberstalkers and                                           communication tool is heavily
                                                                                     the teacher – there is a specific
  their environment and know they             online sexual predators.                                                     restricted. It is up to parents to be
                                                                                     module for cybercrime and
  can let adults know when they’ve                                                                                         diligent and protective without
                                              senior Constable sascha Lipman         anecdotal evidence says that it’s
  strayed somewhere or been                                                                                                letting their child feel it is their fault
                                              from the NsW Police Force Media        been extremely successful and
  contacted by someone who is                                                                                              that precautions are necessary.
                                              unit says sexual predators are         well received by the kids.”

24 Issue08
Chances are, your child uses a computer, mobile phone and the Internet more regularly than you do. Here are the top
                                                                                         a technology guide for parents Click
tips to keep your child safe in an online world that you might not be part of.

                                                                                                                       Try to save a copy of the chat
                                                                                                                       log between your child and the
                                                                                                                       suspected paedophile. You can
                                                                                                                       do this by highlighting the text
                                                                                                                       with your mouse, creating a copy,
                                                                                                                       and pasting it into a document
                                                                                                                       that can then be saved.

                                                                                                                       You can also install software
                                                                                                                       that will record your child’s
                                                                                                                       conversations for chat software
                                                                                                                       such as Yahoo and MsN. Note any
                                                                                                                       particulars such as websites, email
                                                                                                                       addresses, user nicknames and any
                                                                                                                       telephone numbers.

                                                                                                                       Then go to your local police
                                                                                                                       station to make a formal
                                                                                                                       complaint against the suspected
                                                                                                                       paedophile. If you do not have
                                                                                                                       a copy of the chat log, try to
get involved: If your child has           don’t recognise frequently             that sex between adults and           provide police with as much
a Bebo, Facebook or Myspace               dialled numbers.                       children is acceptable.)              detail as possible from the
page. Ask to see it. Without                                                                                           conversation, such as where the
                                         • stress the importance of not         • Your child changing the screen
being judgemental, make sure                                                                                           predator might live, the handle/
                                          responding to messages from            or turning the computer off
the photographs that are posted                                                                                        name he used in the chat room,
                                          strangers. If your child receives      when you enter the room.
are not in any way suggestive                                                                                          what chat room you were in, and
                                          persistent messages or calls from      (If your child is engaged in
and don’t link your child to any                                                                                       their mobile phone number.
                                          a stranger, note the number            inappropriate conversation or is
geographic region that can be
                                          and report to police. save any         looking at pornography they will      You could also report the activity
easily identified, like a school, your
                                          messages or pictures on the            attempt to hide this from you.)       of the person to the chat room
home or regular sporting venue.
                                          handset to show police.                                                      provider or moderator. This may
Make suggestions to change                                                      • Your child becoming withdrawn
                                         • Remind your child about never         or displaying behavioural problems.   prevent the person from returning
anything you find worrisome
                                          giving out their mobile phone          (Child sex offenders are masters      to that particular chat room and
or inappropriate, but discuss the
                                          number to strangers.                   at exploiting the everyday issues     looking for their next victim.
reasons why with your child and
ensure they know it is not arbitrary                                             that trouble children.)               You can also call Crime stoppers
censorship, rather it is for their                                                                                     24-hour line 1800 333 000 or if you
safety and your peace of mind.
                                         watch out for:                         • Your child receiving gifts or
                                                                                 mail from people you don’t            have information or a question for
                                         • Your child receiving phone calls      know. (sex offenders use many         the Child exploitation Internet unit
Mobile phones: sexual predators
                                          from people you don’t know             strategies to gain the trust of a     you can send an email to the unit:
who chat to children on the Internet
                                          or is calling numbers you don’t        child. They will send letters and
frequently go on to make calls to
                                          recognise. (Police investigations      use gifts as part of this process,
the child, but monitoring calls is
                                          show that most predators want          and have even sent plane tickets
becoming increasingly difficult
                                          to talk to the child on the phone      in order for the child to travel
for parents. And with the new
                                          to set up a meeting.)                  across the country to meet them.)
generation of phones, Internet
and email access is possible.            • Your child spending a large
                                                                                report to police:
                                          amount of time on the Internet.
• Choose a mobile for your child
                                          (The longer your child is online,     If you know or suspect your child
 that does not have Internet
                                          particularly in ‘chat’ rooms, the     has been contacted by a predator,
 access or speak to your carrier
                                          more likely they will be approached   first ensure your child knows it is
 to block Internet access and any
                                          inappropriately, or be exposed to     not their fault and that you will
 other features not required by
                                          objectionable material.)              now step in to help them. You
 your child.
                                                                                may need your child’s help to
                                         • Pornography on your child’s
• Check your child’s phone bill                                                 access the offending material or
                                          computer. (Pornography used by
 for numbers other than known                                                   correspondence, so it’s important
                                          predators to convince victims
 family or friends and ask if you                                               they know you are on their side.

                                                                                                                                                   08Issue 25

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