Protecting Kids From Online Predators

By: Laura Kadechka Email
By: Laura Kadechka Email

Tallahassee Police say of the 45 million kids and teens using the Internet, one in four have encountered unwanted pornography and one in five have been sexually solicited.

Dean Dillman, a father of five, says he's doing all he can to make sure his kids are safe online. His 12-year-old daughter Amber recently asked about instant messaging.

He said, "I told her I had to do some research first."

Dillman says he has more of a reason to worry. He works in IT and knows the dangers that lurk online from scam artists to sexual predators.

"I know what's out there and what can be done, even with the filters, you still have to be careful because there's no software out there; people can hack through those filters."

Tallahassee Police say Dillman's doing the right thing. Research is important, but so are the basic rules.

OFC John Creamer said it's as simple as, "You don't talk to strangers in person, you don't talk to strangers on the Internet."

OFC Creamer says parents need to tell their children if they're ever approached online to log off immediately and tell a parent and to never, ever give out personal information. That includes first and last names, but he adds location is also important.

"Never, ever put a computer in a child's room. The computer should be located in a central location within the house that as an adult. You can walk by and you can see what your child is looking at, the history on the computer or what they're doing."

Dillman says that's exactly what he does and watches his kids' every online move.

Amber says she understands why and doesn't mind if she has to wait a little while longer before logging on to the world of instant messaging in the name of safety.

She shrugged her shoulders and said, "It's cool."

To find out more on protecting your children you can go to the following websites:

Tallahassee Police Department:
http://talgov.com/tpd/tips/kids_internet.com

Florida Department of Law Enforcement:
www.fdle.state.fl.us/Fc3


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