Sher­iff Wright en­cour­ag­ing cy­ber safety among lo­cals

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial to The Saline Courier

Saline County Sher­iff Rod­ney Wright is tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to re­mind com­mu­nity res­i­dents and part­ners about the im­por­tance of tak­ing cy­ber safety pre­cau­tions to pro­tect children.

“More than in­spir­ing fear in our kids, we want to arm them with in­for­ma­tion. In­for­ma­tion is power. When you talk to your children, warn them that there’s a chance some­one could ap­proach them on­line to get per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, ex­change pic­tures and/or meet in per­son, and it might be some­one who feels like an on­line friend. It’s not the norm, and it’s not a rea­son to be afraid all the time. It’s sim­ply a rea­son to be aware and know that if some­one starts ask­ing for per­sonal in­for­ma­tion or talk­ing about sex­ual things, it’s time to no­tify and ask an adult for help,” Wright said.

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­search con­ducted in part­ner­ship with the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, in 82 per­cent of on­line sex-re­lated crimes against children, the preda­tor used the child’s so­cial me­dia pro­files to gather in­for­ma­tion about them. Ev­ery day children post pic­tures and other pri­vate in­for­ma­tion that may seem in­nocu­ous to the un­trained eye. In­for­ma­tion such as sports teams’ names and sched­ules, children’s jersey num­bers and other af­ter school ac­tiv­i­ties can be am­muni

tion that an on­line preda­tor can use to find the child.

The num­ber one thing that adults can do to pro­tect their children is to vig­i­lantly mon­i­tor their in­ter­net, par­tic­u­larly so­cial me­dia, con­tacts and ac­tiv­ity.

Some other im­por­tant sug­ges­tions made by the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion in­clude: • Never let children post pho­to­graphs of them or their friends where peo­ple par­ents don’t know can ac­cess them. • Never let children post sched­ules for sports, va­ca­tions or other ac­tiv­i­ties on­line. • Never let children give out any iden­ti­fy­ing in­for­ma­tion to some­one they don’t per­son­ally know; this in­cludes school in­for­ma­tion. • Never let children ar­range to meet with some­one that they have only in­ter­acted with on­line.

“A way that you can en­sure that you are keeping track of these things is by main­tain­ing an on­go­ing, open di­a­log with your children. Make sure they know that they can come to you with any con­cerns that they have about any­thing that has hap­pened on­line. Also, make sure that you con­tinue to dis­cuss the im­por­tance of tak­ing these cy­ber safety pre­cau­tions with them,” Wright said.

More in­for­ma­tion about cy­ber safety pre­cau­tions and dan­ger in­di­ca­tors can be found on the FBI web­site at www.fbi.gov/in­ves­ti­gate/cy­ber or on the FCC web­site at www.tran­si­tion.fcc.gov/cgb/in­ter­net­safety-tips.pdf.

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