One post today, however, was more serious. It was from the Computer Crime Unit and addressed why parents need to be involved in making sure their kids are safe online safety and whether it is possible to be anonymous online.
Here was the message from the Bangor Police to parents about kids’ online behavior:
Parents, watch your children’s Internet activity. Pay attention to who they are chatting with. It is your job and there are people out there trying to destroy those that you are trying to raise. Be a watcher.
I love the phrase “Be a watcher.”
If you are monitoring your child’s online actions on the home computer, their phone and anywhere else, you are not spying or snooping; you are watching.
The Facebook post also addressed whether there is anonymity online:
There is no anonymity on the Internet. … As of late our forensic computer unit is overflowing with cases. Just because you think your are able to use the “cloak” of darkness on certain sites only means that we have to find you with other means. It really is not that hard. Once we have a complaint about you it really takes a short time to find you, your address and all of your activity, what kind of computer you are using and pretty much everything else needed to get a signed warrant to search it, your home and you.
While the message is directed at those using the internet to “inquire about different activities with underage individuals,” it is true of all online activity. This would be great to share with kids when discussing Ask.fm and the many other sites that “promise” users anonymity.
I debated suggesting sharing it with your kids given that it alludes to child pornography, but opted to share because if your child is online, they need to know that such activity takes place. It may help them understand some of your concerns and also opens up a conversation that, while uncomfortable, is hugely important.
That Bangor has a population of approximately 33,000 people. It is not a big city, but still they are “overflowing” with cases. That illustrates that predators are everywhere. Thinking “it won’t happen here” is not an option.
Parents have to be watchers.
Prior Post: Ideas for Easter Baskets for Tweens and Teens
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