Cyber Safety for Parents
The Attorney General’s Community Engagement Department provides training and assistance to children, parents, educators and others on the best ways to stay safe on the Internet. Below are recommendations for parents whose children go online.
As mobile phone use increases, children also face risks when exchanging text messages or photos, or accessing the Internet via phone.
To request a presentation from the Attorney General’s office on cyber safety, contact the Community Engagement Department at (800) 448-3014.
- Make sure that children keep passwords, pictures and personal information to themselves.
- Remind children never to arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they first met online.
- Teach children not to post anything on the Internet that they would not want others to see.
- Help them remember that people they meet online are not always who they say they are.
- Let children know that they should not say anything online that they would not say in public.
- Tell them not to respond to messages that are inappropriate or make them feel uncomfortable in any way.
- Encourage children to tell an adult if they ever encounter a problem online.
- Children should never reply to anyone in anger.
- When bullied online, remember to tell children to “stop, block and tell.” Stop replying, block the sender and tell someone. Similar rules apply to text messages.
- Messages should be saved and shown to a trusted adult.
- Be a friend — children that know someone is being cyberbullied should be encouraged to let parent know.
- Parents should consider reporting the cyberbullying to local law enforcement authorities.
- A child spends large amounts of time online, especially at night.
- Pornography is discovered on a child’s computer.
- A child talks by phone or texts to unknown adults or others with unrecognized phone numbers.
- A child receives mail, gifts or packages from an unknown person.
- A child turns off a computer monitor, changes screens on the computer or tries to hide the phone when parents enter the room.
- A child becomes withdrawn from family and friends.
- A child uses an online account belonging to someone else.
Protect Children from Online Predators
- Talk to children about sexual victimization and the potential of online danger.
- Keep the computer in a common room of the house, not in a child’s bedroom.
- Utilize parental controls available from Internet service providers or use blocking software.
- Always maintain access to a child’s online account and monitor email.
- Teach children the responsible use of online resources.
- Find out the computer safeguards being utilized at school, the library and at friends’ homes.
- Never arrange a face-to-face meeting for a child with someone they met online.
- Never automatically assume that what a child is told online is the truth.
Home Safety Tips
Every 15 seconds, a burglar breaks into a home in the United States, steals an average $1,725 worth of property. It happened more than 2 million times a year around the United States , and most if not all of those victims thought their home was pretty secure [source: FBI]. They had locks, lights, neighbors and the occasional dog, alarm system. So how'd it happen?
Some weak points are obvious: An open door, for instance, screams "I'm tired of my brand new awesome iPad." A tree house within stepping distance from an upstairs window is probably not a great idea. A ground-floor window left open on a hot summer night is criminal catnip. Most people are more careful than that, though, yet burglary is still a common occurrence.
The weak points that lead to most burglaries are somewhat more hidden. They're easy enough to fix, though. Thoughtfully securing a home against break-in, while never a sure thing, can at least greatly reduce the risk of falling prey to this particular violation. It means making a few changes, additions and behavior modifications that create a less appealing target. Today we'll check out five of those fixes and find out how to implement them effectively.
- Alarm companies portray their product as a cure-all – it’s a force field that takes the uncertainty out of home security. In fact, it doesn't really stop anyone from breaking in. It does, however, make your home a less favorable target if you use it the right way.
An alarm is mostly about peace of mind; if something does happen, help will be on the way quickly. And that's no small thing. But if you want an alarm to really protect, the criminals have to know it's there before they target you. That means displaying that unsightly notice with the alarm company's name on it, and displaying it outside the house. When people keep it hidden so as not to disturb landscape, would-be thieves don't know the home is any less desirable than the house next door, and the alarm is only an after-the-fact security measure. Alarms are most effective when they're most obvious.
Up next: Some things are better left less obvious.
- Don't Broadcast
If we've learned anything in the last decade, it's that the Internet does not discriminate by intention. Pedophiles, hackers, and burglars get access like everybody else.
Like our vacation plans.
Seems harmless enough: We update our Facebook status to let our friends know we've arrived in Rome for two weeks of adventure. We Tweet our intention to meet up for a day of skiing. We post real-time photos of our road trip on a social media site. Unfortunately we like to share our daily activity.
The problem is, we can't be entirely sure with whom we're sharing. It's not hard to eavesdrop on social-networking applications, so a robber holding a black ski mask and lock pick could be finding out we're in Rome, on a ski slope or driving cross-country -- finding out he or she could break in with no chance of being interrupted.
So keep your whereabouts off the social networks and on your neighbors' radar.
- Be Original:
Maybe the doormat was a fine place to hide a key a few decades ago (but probably not). Its possible fake rocks were secure when the first 1,000 people tucked their keys inside and tossed them in the dirt. And the door frame is still an ideal place to stash a key if your burglar is 4 feet tall. You’re going to have to change it up. When you hide your house key in an obvious place, you may be reducing your inconvenience in the case that you lock yourself out or need a friend to pick up the mail when you're gone, but you're increasing the chance you'll find yourself in the much more inconvenient position of being robbed.
It's best not to have an extra key anywhere on your property. The safest place for a spare key is with a trustworthy neighbor or two.
If you must hide one, be creative. If your friends can guess your hiding place on the first try, pick a new one.
- Light the Night
The very first lesson on the very first day of burglary school is: Don't get caught. The first step to avoiding capture is avoiding detection in the first place (if they can't see you, they can't call the cops).
While lots of burglaries take place during the day, darkness is still a great cover. When looking to make your house less of a target, one of the best fixes is lighting, both outdoor and indoor. It's partly about minimizing the appearance of vacancy inside the house (which burglars look for), and partly about shedding light on would-be intruders outside the house.
Inside, what you need is to establish a routine and stick with it. Lots of burglars will case a target to pinpoint vulnerabilities, such as the occupants going out of town. Get a timer and set the lights to go on at a certain time in the morning and off at a certain time at night. That way, it'll be harder to tell when you're gone, whether you're on a trip or just working late.
Outdoors, it's all about visibility. The area immediately outside your home is the first line of defense. Yard lights (both front and back) are great, but the solar kinds are probably too dim to do much in the way of security [source: Consumer Reports]. The 120-volt type is better, and should be placed at strategic points such as entries and pathways. Any hiding spots, like clusters of trees or freestanding structures, should also be well-lit.
Now let’s talk about the last line of defense to burglars while away from your home.
1.Lock it Up!!!!!!!!When you’re away or at home lock your doors, windows or any means necessary to enter your residence or out buildings. (If your deadbolts or locks don't function properly have them replaced.