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Children can get caught by Web, authorities warn

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When Denise Bates' 14-year-old daughter leaves school, the threat of bullies still lingers in the confines of her home.

The Internet has become one more way for her peers to taunt her, Ms. Bates said.

"They do it on MySpace," she said. "She and my other kids have been sent threatening messages. I know if their parents knew about them being on there, they wouldn't allow it."

MySpace.com, a social networking Web site, is just one of the sites that have become a mechanism for sexual predators and bullies to come in contact with underage Internet surfers, said Catherine Neal, the spokeswoman for CrimeStoppers of Savannah-Chatham County. Last year, 18 sexual predators were prosecuted in Georgia, and the same number have already been prosecuted this year, according to the Chatham County Sheriff's Department.

CrimeStoppers and the U.S. Attorney's Office will sponsor a Back To School Internet Forum at Augusta State University on Wednesday, Ms. Neal said. Cindy Marlow, a training specialist with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will present the safety presentation to the parents and middle and high school students.

Parents should be aware of all Web sites and computer language that their children use, Ms. Neal said. POS, for instance, means "parent over shoulder," she said.

"You have to be aware of the language, and know what they're doing on the computer," she said. "The biggest thing is realizing that this can happen to them. It's real."

Youths who use the Internet are at risk, Ms. Neal said.

One in five youths have been approached or solicited online, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. One in four have received unwanted sexually explicit material.

Yolanda Brown, whose 12-year-old daughter attends Tubman Middle School, said her daughter will have to wait until she's 15 to use the Internet at their home.

"There's just a lot of stuff on there that kids under that age should not see," she said. "For now: no YouTube, no MySpace."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

IF YOU GO

The Back to School Internet Safety Forum will be held from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Augusta State University's Jaguar Student Activity Center, 2500 Walton Way.

INTERNET FACTS

- 18 sexual predators have been prosecuted so far this year in Georgia; the same number were prosecuted last year.

- Children start giving out personal information on the Internet as early as age 9.

- One in five youths have been approached or solicited online.

- One in four have received unwanted sexual exposure or sexually explicit material.

Sources: Chatham County Sheriff's Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Comments (16) Add comment
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Just My Opinion
5295
Points
Just My Opinion 09/08/08 - 04:51 am
0
0
The lady who was quoted, at

The lady who was quoted, at the beginning of the article, as saying "...if their parents knew about them being on there, they wouldn't allow it."....I think you SHOULD tell their parents! One of the biggest problems I think we all have is that we don't want to offend or hurt someone else's feelings, so we sometimes go so far as to avoid contact with them. If we were to tell someone what their children are doing, that does not mean that we are judging their parenting skills and implying that they are incompetent parents. It means that we want them to be aware of what their child said or did so that corrective action can be done. Wouldn't every parent want to know what their child is doing...good or bad? I know I do. Ms. Bates...call the parents of these other kids and let them know what you know. Who knows? What you do may end up helping another child from being bullied!

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/08/08 - 05:39 am
0
0
Absolutely, JMO. It's

Absolutely, JMO. It's imperative that parents monitor the internet use of their young children and we can all use some help with it.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 09/08/08 - 07:18 am
0
0
Parents and teachers must be

Parents and teachers must be aware that these children are now being weaned on these electronic wonders(to many nightmares)...You must take extreme caution and if need be take classes in how, who and what is out there stalking our children...

Haddock
0
Points
Haddock 09/08/08 - 08:25 am
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I have two grandchildren that

I have two grandchildren that I purchased this computer for two years ago. I thought it would be to help my grandchildren with homework and help them to become better students in school. I have two adult children who use this computer to go to myspace and utube whatever. Now I'm hearing so much about myspace and utube that I'm getting uneasy about the grands being online. When they come in the first thing they do is get their homework. Next argue about who gets on the computer first. They are just 7 and 8, but spend the rest of their time on the computer until bedtime. I try to see where they are going. I see them playing games. But I often wonder when my back is turn what they are up to. They are gifted kids who know more about this computer then I do. Is there really a class I can take to learn what to look for. Please help this senior citizen to protect my grands. My daughter works evening when they get out of school. I'm trying to help her out all I can. But I need help with this computer issue. Excuse all errors

kai@reasontostand.org
1
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kai@reasontostand.org 09/08/08 - 08:48 am
0
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Yes, let's stick our

Yes, let's stick our collective heads in the sand and not do our God-given duty to teach and train our children up "in the ways of the Lord". Why would we EVER want to prepare them for the real world they already live in? Let's, instead, create an artificial reality around them which matches OUR perception of their innocence. Come one people, its exactly BECAUSE of our sheltering attitudes like the one displayed here that we have so many kids who fall victims to rather mundane plots which would be more than easily thwarted if we would but pull our heads out of the sand and simply take the time to teach our kids what is wise and what is unwise.

itamazezme
0
Points
itamazezme 09/08/08 - 09:24 am
0
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i agree with

i agree with kai@reasontostand.org when i was younger we used to play outside run in and out the house(without the door being locked) nowadays i still raise my kids the same way i was raised with knowledge about the "real" world and its pros and cons they know that there are consequences to their actions both good and bad and yes my front door is always unlocked for my kids to be able to come and go. they, as well as myself are not going to treat ourselves like prisoners just bc there are some bad apples thats not to say we are not safe we know what to do and look for. They also have keys to the house. Most of their friends don't have a front door key and the reason why is bc their parents don't trust them with a key trust, responsibility, discipline, communication and good behavior(manners) goes along way and it should start at home. by the way for those who don't know what all those letters mean (BFF, LOL, POS, etc) go online to URBAN DICTIONARY you can type in just about anything and it will have an answer. As for the MYSPACE bullying tell your daughter to only accept ppl she knows on her friend list and stop opening messages from ppl she don't know or don't like.

daperdoo
0
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daperdoo 09/08/08 - 09:27 am
0
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Haddock...this will help

Haddock...this will help you...its a free keylogger which means it records every key that is pressed on the computer so you can see where they are going and what they have been typing to people...http://www.actualkeylogger.com/ I use this too and it puts the info in a log and is password protected so they CAN'T shut it off only you can...hope this helps you and others...the computer in my son's room does not have any way to access the internet and he has to come out and use mine in front of me and I do have the keylogger on so if I have to leave the room I know where and what he has done...

Haddock
0
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Haddock 09/08/08 - 09:49 am
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Thank you daperdoo. I

Thank you daperdoo. I appreciate this information. I'm 65 years old and have raised my children. I'm tied now, but trying to help my daughter out with her children.

Sparks101
0
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Sparks101 09/08/08 - 02:42 pm
0
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I keep close tabs on my kid

I keep close tabs on my kid while on the internet but the other thing I did was block social networking sites and put him on www.iland5.com. This site is only for kids 5-18 and the kid's school has to verify their identification before they can become a member. He can still play games, IM, email, chat, build his own network of friends, build his own webpage, and receive tutoring if needed. This site is totoally free. There are no sexual predadators or imposters on this site. It is content monitored and age approprite. The site for parents is www.safewave.org

daperdoo
0
Points
daperdoo 09/08/08 - 05:21 pm
0
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Thanks Sparks101...I hadn't

Thanks Sparks101...I hadn't heard about that yet...I checked it out and I really like it and am going to register my son on the site too...That is alot easier than the keylogger but I will still kepp the keylogger on so I know the conversations are clean between him and his friends but thank you so much that was very helpful...and Haddock I think you should see if you can register your grandchildren there too as it would be much more easier than constantly checking the logs...

Sparks101
0
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Sparks101 09/08/08 - 06:02 pm
0
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You are welcome. My son

You are welcome. My son loves it. I love that it is content monitored and no predators or imposters. This should have been thought of years ago.

Haddock
0
Points
Haddock 09/08/08 - 11:13 pm
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Sparks101 thank you so very

Sparks101 thank you so very much. I'm glad you read the posted items today. I'm on my way to make the necessary changes.

gnx
7
Points
gnx 09/09/08 - 12:16 am
0
0
What this article fails to

What this article fails to address is what you should do about bullying and personal threats your child receives on social networking sites. Sure, you can keep your child off these sites, you can personally monitor every thing they do on the computer, and you and your child can take all the internet safety courses in the world but the fact remains that there are still bullies on the internet who need to be dealt with. We all know that sexual predators need to be reported to the police, but unfortunately the police don't have much to work with when it comes to cyber bullies. Maybe the reporter needs to delve more deeply into the subject of cyber bullies and how we need to lobby for legislation so the police can deal with them effectively, instead of veering off into sexual predator land and leaving readers confused.

Sex Offender Issues
0
Points
Sex Offender Issues 09/28/08 - 04:31 pm
0
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It might help if the reporter

It might help if the reporter did some digging and posted a link to the following site, to help parents understand the "NET LINGO"

http://www.netlingo.com/

Also, visit my blog on Sex Offender Issues, here:

http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/

Sex Offender Issues
0
Points
Sex Offender Issues 09/28/08 - 04:33 pm
0
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The police sent me this

The police sent me this info:
Thank you for your comment. There are a lot of law enforcement agencies throughout the country who offer the software free of charge. Persons interested in obtaining a copy should contact their local law enforcement agency. SEE NEXT COMMENT BELOW!!!!

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