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Internet Safety, Software Can't Replace The Parent

Detective R. Scott Sear
School Resource Officer Richard Ross

The Wilton Police Department Youth Division would like to take this opportunity to express our concern about internet safety. Recent incidents in Connecticut have come to law enforcements attention that young children and adolescents are providing too much personal information over the internet. The Attorney Generals office has announced a formal investigation into the website “MySpace.Com”. This website allows people to create an account and post photographs and any information they wish to provide. Unfortunately not all people on the internet are honest law abiding people and it frequently is visited by internet predators. These predators use this site to seek out victims to commit crimes against. Predators will create accounts disguising them as teenagers. They will then chat over time with victims and eventually exchange cell phone numbers and later agree to meet somewhere. Currently Connecticut law enforcement agencies are investigating more then 7 cases of sexual assault against young girls. These girls all had accounts on MySpace.Com.

The website was designed to be a fun website for people to post their favorite artists, books, movies, music. Unfortunately people are providing more personal information which allows a predator a point of contact.

Besides providing information on account holders it also has been known to allow illegal access to pornography and other inappropriate materials that may be in violation of state law. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has referred the matter over to the Chief States Attorneys Office for possible prosecution.

Below is a list of some items that are considered to be personal information and should not be given out over the internet as a child or teenager.

Parents should also consider how much information a child is providing just in their screen name. (Example: Wiltongirl1990). Predators will get a large amount of their information by just a screen name or if the child has a profile.

Some other tips for parents are listed below:

Be aware of your child’s internet experience
Keep the computer in a common area – No Bedrooms
Talk to your child about online dangers. Let them know you are there to help them get out of a bad situation.
Educate yourself on the ins and outs of the Internet.
Talk to other parents about your experiences. It will help everyone.
You can get more information on internet safety by visiting http://www.isafe.org.
If you feel your child is at risk of a predator or has been receiving unwanted contact by persons you should contact your local police department.