Internet Safety and Awareness
Today, both adults and children rely on the Internet to research just about anything imaginable - colleges, health plans, and employment opportunities, among many others -- and also participate in interactive activities. Our children may be socializing, posting pictures and videos, playing video games, and sharing experiences with friends.
Unfortunately, strangers have access to these conversations, pictures, and videos, and when our children are online, they can be exposed to real dangers - among them, pornography, sexual predators, identity theft, and cyberbullying.
As parents, we can help our children take advantage of the Internet without falling victim to its risks.
The NWDA has a Child Sexual Predator Task Force, which monitors Internet crimes against children and aggressively prosecutes offenders. One of its initiatives has been the establishment of a text-a-tip line, allowing citizens to report sex offenders who are in violation of their conditions of release, who are creating, distributing or possessing child pornography; who are targeting child victims through the Internet; or who are actively offending.
"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.
The methods used are limited only by the child's imagination and access to technology. And the cyberbully one moment may become the victim the next. The kids often change roles, going from victim to bully and back again. Symptoms related to cyber-stalking and e-harassment may be more intense than in-person harassment, because the impact is more devastating due to the 24/7 nature of online communication, inability to escape to a safe place, and global access of the information.