Archive for the ‘internet danger’ Category

Predators Use Games to Grab Your Kids

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Fiverr Color Image 1 Hand Out of TV Screen RESIZE

Predators are playing your Wii… in your house… to get your child.

At a Child Safety Seminar the other day, an agent from the North Carolina Department of Justice told me that the newest way child predators are finding victims is through video games. XBox… Wii… Nintendo DS…. They like smart phones and tablets, too. In fact, whatever the latest technology,theĀ  Bad Guys have figured out how to work it to their twisted advantage.

Can’t be, you say! My child is playing in the safety of our living room; I can see him/her with my own eyes! Yes. But the game in their hands connects to the internet. Predators connect to the internet to find kids–and they know where kids gather. As the DOJ officer explained, it’s easy for an abductor or sex predator to make contact with young, innocent players by chatting and sending messages about the game they’re playing. Kids are flattered that someone they don’t even know wants to talk to them about their strategy, technique, and scores.

Once initial contact is established, luring a victim out of parents’ protective reach is simple. In fact, for these guys, the whole process is virtually as easy as reaching through the tv screen to snatch their next victim.

It’s an internet-enabled world, and kids are taught from preschool onward how to operate a computer. So, throwing the Wii out the window and forbidding our kids to touch a keyboard is not the answer. Then what can we do to keep our kids safe? Talk to them! Tell them never to put their personal information out onto the ‘net. No one needs to know their real name, age, where they live, what grade they’re in, what school they go to… even what sports they like or that their pet hamster’s name is Scooter. The Bad Guys might try to trick them into revealing important facts with questions like, “What kind of job does your mom or dad have?” Make sure kids know that any attempt by another “gamer” to make contact could be dangerous. If it happens, they should simply stop playing and go get a parent. The connection should be immediately ended, and the contact reported to police.

Yesterday it was desktops and laptops. Today, it’s smart phones, iPads and games. Tomorrow, it will be… who knows what? Doesn’t matter. The rule is always the same: Don’t give your personal info to anyone over any form of technology. Just as legend says vampires cannot enter your home unless you invite them in, predators can’t get to your kids unless they are allowed to. By repeatedly stressing that we don’t give out any personal info over computer/phone/gaming systems, etc., you keep the Bad Guys from getting in.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go–and Everyone Will Know

Thursday, August 19th, 2010
Who. What. When. And Now Where

That’s Facebook’s ad for their new “service” called Places, available on the I-Phone and I-Touch. And they’re saying it like it’s a good thing. Please don’t be naive enough to believe themunless, of course, you want your home broken into, your personal space violated, and your valuable possessions stolen. If that’s the case, then by all means, post as frequently as you can on Places.

But first, allow me to de-construct the hype. Facebook wants you to take part in this latest self-invasion of privacy because it brings them lots of money. The more people they have posting on Places, the more advertisers they can lure and the more they can charge those advertisers. So, keep in mind that telling anyone on the ‘net where you are (and conversely, where you are not, such as your home) at any given moment does not offer any added convenience to your life. It doesn’t make you richer or more good-looking, and it certainly doesn’t make you smarter. What it can make you is a crime victim.

“Share where you are!” Facebook urges you to use Places to tell your friends that you’re at the “Best. Concert. Ever.And if they’re using the program, too, you can post back and forth to one another in real time. Or, you can put your phone away for a while and actually watch the Best. Concert. Ever.

“See exactly where your friends are at any time!” You can find out that Ryan’s at work… Steve’s at the gym… and Denise is having a filling replaced. Seriously, this sort of hot-off-the-presses info couldn’t wait ’til later?

“Find friends who are nearby and get together!” This feature might be vital for anyone who doesn’t have texting, IM, Twitter, email, or a phone. But that eliminates most, if not all, of your friends, and a large portion of the U.S. population.

People complain that we have “too much security” these days–video cameras in public spaces, recording everyday activities. “The government is getting carried away! It’s Big Brother all over again!” But these same folks think nothing about telling the entire internet who they are, where they live, and where they’re going to be at what time. Security cameras aren’t necessary to report their activities and whereabouts–they’re doing it themselves.

So, what can you do? Simply opt out of Places. Follow these step-by-step instructions to disable the program on your I-Phone or I-Touch:

Congratulations! You’ve just taken a big step in arming yourself against robbery, stalking, and other crimes that are made possible when personal information goes public.

What They Know Can Hurt You

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Blogging in the quiet of an office, or the pretend-privacy of a cubicle, we can convince ourselves that we’re alone, tucked safely away from the rest of the world. Hidden from the prying eyes of “bad guys” who enjoy hurting us “good guys.”

I’m a Children’s Safety and Self-Defense Instructor, certified through radKIDS, Inc. And I’m seeing posts more and more frequently–from adults–that I find increasingly alarming. The simple rules I teach kids to follow to protect themselves online are often ignored by their parents–and the end result can be devastating.

Recently, on a public message board, a seemingly-intelligent woman of sound judgment gave out not only her own name (first and last) and workplace, but also the names and ages of her two young daughters. She included their grades and the names and locations of the schools they attended.

If readers followed her posts, they soon learned what each girl did after school, and where they did it. Yes, this was a very proud mom, sharing a wonderful picture of a close-knit family. It gave me chills.

With just a few posts, this woman gave every child sexual predator who was interested all the information they needed to locate either or both of her daughters. They had physical descriptions, their whereabouts during and after school, and worst, their names, to casually call them over for a chat. (Kids are often taught to “be polite” to adults, especially ones who smile and say, “Remember me? I work with your mom! That’s how I know your name.”)

Convicted sexual offenders number one per every square mile in the U.S. In the past year, several news stories involving the disappearance, rape, and murder of young people have traced the source of a predator’s contact with his victim to information volunteered on a public website. Partly because of this, did a clean sweep of its entire member list and threw out over 39,000 convicted predators–and those were only the ones who registered under their real names. Facebook is currently planning similar action.

What does all this mean for you and me? It means that “bad guys” surf the web. They read blogs; they wait in chat rooms. They look at personal profiles. They hunt. And they find. Don’t let them find you or anyone you love. Keep your personal information private. Your friends and family already know it. No one else needs to.