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Tips from Tonna for your PC
Internet Safety
by Tonna Kutner

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Q: Is it safe for kids to be on those chat rooms?

A: This is a very popular pass-time for kids and grown ups too.  Like most activities, it’s best to be aware of the pitfalls and to have clear guidelines to stay safe on the internet.  I recently attended a presentation on internet safety by Christine Gregoire, Washington State Attorney General, that was very informative and a little shocking.  Here’s some of the main points: 

There are serious pitfalls.  There are predators who specifically target teen chat areas, often posing as girls.  The anonymity of the web allows stalkers, sex offenders and scam artists to come in contact with children more easily.  Here’s some shocking statistics for children aged 10-17:

  • 1 in 5 received a sexual solicitation

  • 1 in 33 were aggressively solicited. In these cases a solicitor  asked to meet them, called them, or sent mail or gifts

  • 1 in 4 had unwanted exposure to pictures of naked people or sexual activity

  • 1 in 17 where threatened or harassed.

After learning the big negatives that can result from internet contact, students developed their own internet safety tips.  Here’s a few from a 7th grade class:

  • Never give out your real name when signing up for email service

  •  Don't tell the truth about yourself in a profile

  • If someone tries to talk to you and you don't know them - don't respond; don't communicate with them.

  • Fill out only what you have to - nothing is better.

  •  Don't make people angry

For more complete information check out Christine Gregoire’s web site which has a wealth of information on keeping our kids safe on the internet: www.wa.gov/ago

If you have a computer question you would like answered in this space, send it to tonna@computer-lynx.com.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

Printed in "Verve" -  July 2003.  Copyright Tonna Kutner

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