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The Monroe Police would like to bring to your attention two important topics of discussion:
- Cyber Bullying
- Cyber Tipline

While the Internet can be a unique educational and recreational resource for children, it is important that they are educated about how to safely and responsibly use this powerful tool. Personal computers are no longer the only method used for accessing the Internet. The speed and anonymity of cyber attacks makes distinguishing among the actions of terrorists, criminals, and nation states difficult, a task which often occurs only after the fact, if at all.

Children can go online from personal computers at home, a friend’s house, in school, a library, club, or cafe. Many game consoles can be connected to the Internet and used for chatting and other online interaction. It is also possible to access the Internet on mobile devices such as cellular telephones and other handheld devices. In other words children don’t have to be in the company of responsible adults to use the Internet. Several issues have received particular attention with respect to protecting children online. Parents and teachers should be aware of cyber stalking and the threats that online predators pose to children's physical safety; harmful or inappropriate content (most often characterized as pornographic, excessively violent or simply 'adult'); privacy invasions that result from the collection of personally identifiable information about individual children; and commercialism and aggressive marketing targeted directly at children.

Social networking sites like myspace and facebook can be fun to use as well as an effective way for young people to link up with friends and people who have similar interests. As with many online environments, there are some risks involved in interacting with others and putting personal information online. Such risks can include cyber bullying, exposure to anti-social or illegal material, and being targeted by sex offenders or others who may wish to cause harm.

As many of these sites are used by young people, parents can help minimize such risks by getting involved in their child's online life and providing a tool box of strategies to help them stay safe while having fun online. Another issue related to the presence of children on the Internet is the potential misuse of this tool. Whether the consequences are intentional or unintentional, the Internet can open a dangerous window of accessibility for children who are unaware of the consequences of irresponsible use. For this reason, it is essential that teachers and parents consider how to educate children about the consequences associated with misusing the Internet.

Tips for parents and teachers:

  • Make sure your children don't spend all of their time on the computer.
  • Make sure your children know not to share personal information, like their name, address or telephone number, with anyone online.
  • Teach your children to never open, read or respond to messages from a cyber bully
  • Supervise the types of photos your teen is posting online
  • Discourage the use of web cams
  • Know your child's online activities and friends: Be familiar with each of your children's passwords, screen names, and all account information.
  • People, not computers, should be their best friends and companions.
  • Keep the computer in a family room, kitchen or living room, not in your children's bedroom.
  • Learn enough about computers so you can enjoy them together with your kids.
  • Keep the lines of communication open: Spend time on the Internet alongside your child and establish an atmosphere of trust
  • Watch your children when they're online and see where they go.
  • Supervise computer use and other Internet-enabled devices, and keep your child's computer in an open area of your home
  • Make sure that your children feel comfortable coming to you with questions.
  • Monitor other points of Internet access including your child's cell phone, iPhone, PDA and access they have to computers at school and friend's homes.
  • Keep kids out of chat rooms or IRCs, unless they are monitored
  • Instruct your child never to plan a face-to-face meeting: Online 'friends' may not be who they say they are. Children should also be advised to come to you if anyone makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, confused, or asks for any personal or identifiable information or suggests meeting them.
  • Encourage discussions between you and your children about what they enjoy online.
  • Discuss these rules, get your children to agree to adhere to them and post them near the computer as a reminder.
  • Be sure your children use privacy settings to restrict access to and limit who can view their profiles: Social networking sites provide a variety of privacy settings that limit who can view the child's profile.
  • Help them find a balance between computing and other activities.
  • Search blog sites children visit to see what information they are posting
  • Remember to monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your children spend on the computer.
  • Teach your children how to protect personal information posted online and to follow the same rules with respect to the personal information of others
  • Get to know their "online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends.

Parental controls are provided by most ISPs, or are sold as separate software. Remember that no software can substitute for parental supervision. Talk to your kids about safe computing practices, as well as the things they're seeing and doing online.

(Additional information and tips, provided by; http://listcrime.com/ResourcesforChildren.html)

 

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Click to make a report to the CyberTipline Watch Our Video
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The Congressionally-mandated CyberTipline is a means for reporting crimes against children including:

  • Possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography
  • Online enticement of children for sexual acts
  • Child prostitution
  • Sex Tourism Involving Children
  • Extrafamilial Child Sexual Molestation
  • Unsolicited Obscene Material Sent to a Child
  • Misleading Domain Names
  • Misleading Words or Digital Images on the Internet
Reports may be made 24-hours a day, 7 days a week online at www.cybertipline.com or by calling 1-800-843-5678.

Congressionally Mandated CyberTipline Reporting Categories

Possession, Manufacture, and Distribution of Child Pornography
Child pornography is defined as a visual depiction of a minor under the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct (18 U.S.C. 2256).  It is a federal crime to possess, manufacture and/or distribute child pornography (18 U.S.C. 2251 et seq.).

Online Enticement of Children for Sexual Acts
It is a federal crime to use the Internet to knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a child under the age of 18 to meet for sexual acts, or to attempt to arrange such a meeting (18 U.S.C. 2422(b)).

Child Prostitution
It is a federal crime to knowingly recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide or obtain by any means a child under the age of 18 to engage in a commercial sex act.  It is also illegal to benefit, either financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a child prostitution venture (18 U.S.C. 1591).

Sex Tourism Involving Children
It is a federal crime for a U.S. citizen to travel abroad intending to engage in sexual activity with a child younger than 18 that would be illegal if it occurred in the U.S. (18 U.S.C. 2423).  Individuals who commit these crimes are subject to prosecution in the U.S. even if the crime was committed on foreign soil.

Extrafamilial Child Sexual Molestation
Extrafamilial child sexual molestation is the sexual molestation of a child by someone other than a family member.

Unsolicited Obscene Material Sent to a Child
It is a federal crime to send obscene material to a child under the age of 16 if the sender knows that the recipient is under the age of 16 (18 U.S.C. 1470). 

Adults concerned about adult obscenity not involving children on the Internet should make a report to www.obscenitycrimes.org.

Misleading Domain Names
It is a federal crime to knowingly use a misleading domain name on the Internet with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material that is harmful to minors (18 U.S.C. 2252B(b)).

Misleading Words or Digital Images on the Internet
It is a federal crime to knowingly embed words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material that is harmful to minors (18 U.S.C. 2252C).