New York City, NY (PRWEB) June 10, 2004
School is out, kids have lots of free time to hang out and chat, and oh yes, the online pedophiles are experiencing their busiest season of the year! More kids are victimized during the summer than during any other time of the year. A NY Cyber expert/attorney offers tips to keep kids safe this summer.
How many different people do you think your child chats with on the internet? Five? Maybe ten? According to America Online, the average teenager has more than one hundred people on their buddy list, people they chat with online on a regular basis.
Yet, most parents have no idea what their kids are doing online, who they are chatting with or what they are talking about, which leads to some potentially very dangerous situations.
According to Parry Aftab, cyberspace security expert, author and child advocate "The internet is a breeding ground for pedophiles who will pretend to be your child's best friend to gain their confidence. "The cute 14 year old boy she thinks she is talking with isnÂt cute, isn't 14 and isn't a boy." The next thing you know, she hands out her phone number, her address, and before you know it, we read about her missing in the newspaper." Such was the case with Christina Long, the 13 year old from Connecticut who was killed two years ago by someone she met secretly online.
If you think your child is too smart to give out that kind of information so easily, think again. In a survey of girls aged 13 to 16 years old, 60% admitted to giving out their name, address, date of birth, phone number or school name online.
Short of unplugging your household from the Internet, what is a parent to do?
Aftab offers some basic guidelines:
1. Personal information stays personal. While this is an important rule for children, it's also an important rule for parents. Giving information on your family and your children to the wrong person could be dangerous.
2. Keep children out of chat rooms and IRCs unless they are monitored by a parent or you use monitoring software.
3. Get to know your children's "online friends" as you get to know all of their other friends.
4. Warn your children that people may not be what they seem to be. Someone can say they are a 12 year old named Billy when they are not. The Internet provides a cover for people to put on whatever persona's they desire. Predators often pose as children to gain our children's trust.
Aftab has one other suggestion. "Being a privacy lawyer, I used to think that monitoring software, which records your kids emails and chats, was too much like reading their diary. But, I have changed my mind because keeping our kids safe from these online dangers requires that we know WHO they are chatting with and WHAT they are chatting about. A parent's radar for detecting danger is much keener than that of a 10 or 12 year old."
Does Aftab have any recommendations for monitoring software?
"One of my favorites is eBlaster. I like it because it requires the least effort for parents. I call it chat monitoring on auto-pilot because it automatically records each and every chat conversation and then automatically forwards a transcript of that conversation to your email address. So, you get notified of the conversation right away, even if you are at work. If something dangerous is going on, you can intervene immediately. This is especially important in the summer when you consider the increase in the amount of time kids are spending on the computer during the work day."
Parry Aftab authored a best selling book for parents on protecting their kids online. To learn more about Parry's book, safety tips and biographical information visit http://www.Aftab.com or http://www.wiredkids.org.
For information on eBlaster Internet Monitoring Software, visit http://www.eBlaster.com.
To schedule an interview or appearance with Ms. Aftab based in NY, to request an evaluation copy of eBlaster, b-roll or more information contact:
Manager, Public Relations
# # #