TIFFIN POLICE DEPARTMENT

Internet & Children

 

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The internet provides a unique experience for children to learn and to explore; in part, because a young person is able to proceed at their own rate. The web facilitates learning for children with ADD, and other learning problems; the stress from performance expectations of teachers and classmates is not as evident and the environment can be modified to provide fewer distractions. Gifted children can learn at an accelerated pace.

However, parents and educators realize that this gift of easier access to information is a double-edged sword because the web makes it easier for predators to distribute their wares and to entice the innocent onto their sites.

Porn sites are getting more devious in their attempt to draw visitors. They literally recruit new visitors using various methods. One method is to put misleading words in the subject line of e-mail. So when you see as subject, "new password", you automatically think of it as legitimate.

Not necessarily, true! In this instance, the sender was one of the many porn sites trying to entice visitors. And how do they get your address? It is fairly easy. If you post your e-mail address anywhere on the net, especially in usenet boards, conferences and discussion boards, you are likely to receive such messages.

Here are some examples. Various internet hosts offer free web sites. Once you are a member of any of these sites, you may want to post requests for help on the discussion boards ("How do I ftp?"; "Does anyone know a good place for free animated graphics?" etc.). Unknown to you and unknown to your web site host, porn and spam sites can snatch your name and your e-mail address by various means including utilizing various "robot" tools which search pages for e-mail addresses.

Sure you can restrict yourself from posting on the net but thatís not a very adequate solution as it keeps you from valuable information, experiences and personal interchanges. The better solution is to protect yourself with various software and other means, some of which are listed below.

Recently, porn/spam sites have been hitting users of HotMail, which is a well known free e-mail service. Strangely, it appears, that those who send out spam or porno mail are totally unconscious of whom they are sending the mail to. Witness, recently, the fact that a Florida Police Department received various porn messages which were sent to their e-mail addresses; addresses that specifically state "Police"! In this case, in response to their complaint, HotMail support deleted the users HotMail account. They also remarked that 99% of spammers using return HotMail addresses are not valid HotMail users. The addresses are fake.

As just mentioned, most e-mail providers have an abuse service where you can complain about these spammers/porn messages. Unfortunately, since 99% of the addresses are fake, no action can be taken. Most providers, also provide a "block sender" technique. But to block the sender you must have an actual e-mail addresses which, again, is usually non-existent and, the next time the spammer sends out a message, they will use a different, fake e-mail address. Yes, you can block subjects that have such words as "adult videos" but that only works for the so-called "honest" porn sites since many others utilize tricks when it comes to the subject field (as noted above).

Perhaps you feel you donít have to worry about the e-mail aspect as your child does not have access to e-mail. But what about search engines? All children/students use them. The idea behind search engines is that when you request information on certain keywords, you will receive information on those keywords. But porn sites illegally seed words into their pages and sometimes in their META tags; words that have absolutely nothing to do with the contents of their site. They seed literally hundreds of irrelevant words-words that search engine robots capture and thus, when your child puts in one of these words, and it could be anything (animal, picture, telephone, candy, princess, lord) they will pull up a very descriptive porn site. Given the curiosity of children, they may very well visit. A solution is to use search engines designed specifically for younger children. Here are the URLs for three of these:

So, what else can you do? An excellent site offering resources is Smart Parent. Here, you will find blocking/filtering software that you can install on your PC. The following are Internet Service Providers that use various means to protect juveniles from accessing certain sites:

You can also search for Internet Service Providers in your area

It is important to give children the opportunity to explore the web but we need to offer reasonable protection while they explore. If youíre aware of incidents of exploitation of children, call the Tiffin Police at (419)447-2323, or your local law enforcement agency if outside Tiffin, Ohio or report on-line to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or The Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Toll free number for reporting exploitation of children: 1-800-843-5678


This information is provided by the Tiffin Police Department 
and the National Crime Prevention Council.


 

 

 

 

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