Crime Prevention Internet Safety
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Did You Know?
While the majority of people use computers for lawful purposes, there is a small minority who use this technology to commit crimes. It is important to TakeAction to protect yourself and your children from people who misuse this important technology.
There are several online settings, including:
The Internet a global network of computers, which is not governed by any entity. Although it contains information on nearly every topic imaginable, there are no limits or checks on the kind of information that is maintained and accessible to Internet users.
E-mail is electronic mail that can be transmitted from one computer to another via the Internet. Documents and pictures can be attached to this e-mail and sent to the receiving computer where they can be viewed and/or printed.
Usenet Groups also called News Groups, these are postings on specific topics, where the comments and/or pictures follow one another in a bulletin board style.
Chat Rooms Also called Internet Relay Chat (IRC), these areas are where participants can talk to each other in real time with their remarks appearing as they enter them.
Practice Internet Safety
Be aware of potential hazards when you are online.
- There are many scams and frauds that occur via the Internet – be aware! Remember, any offer that's “too good to be true” probably is.
- Never give out your credit card number to anyone unless you totally trust them.
- Be very cautious about downloading software programs from the Internet. These can contain computer viruses that can damage or cripple the information on your computer.
Some of the risks to children include:
- Exposure to inappropriate material of a sexual or violent nature
while online, a child might provide information or arrange an
encounter that could risk his or her safety. Pedophiles have used
online contacts to gain a childs confidence and then arranged a
- Harassment a child might encounter e-mail or messages that are harassing,
demeaning, belligerent, suggestive or threatening.
- Invitation to sexual touching
- Luring for a sexual purpose
Use the following tips to help protect your children from internet hazards.
- Learn about computers. Take a computer course and/or ask your children to teach you how to operate the computer.
- Talk to your children about their use of the computer and discuss the dangers they may encounter online. Create a list of online rules and post them by the computer. (see below)
- Keep the computer in a common area of your home, so that children’s activities can be easily monitored.
- Limit time allotted on a computer. Watch to see if your child is withdrawing from friends and family. Excessive computer usage may indicate a problem.
- Accompany your child when they are in chat rooms, or consider blocking chat entirely. You can also consider routing your child’s e-mail into your own account first, so you can screen the e-mail for any undesirable messages.
- Obtain a software-filtering package that can block access to Internet sites or e-mail messages that you deem inappropriate for your children. This software can also log all of your child’s activity on the Internet so you can review it later. Remember though, this software is not foolproof and cannot take the place of parental involvement and supervision.
- Find out from your Internet Service Provider whether you have a filtered or unfiltered feed. The filtered feed will not allow access to the majority of sex-related Usenet Groups. However, as a parent you should be aware that this is not foolproof, and there are other ways for your child to access this information.
- Watch for the storing of computer files that end with GIF, JPG, MPG, AVI, MOV, BMP, TIF, PCX, DL or GL as these contain photographic or movie images which could contain unsuitable content.
The following are excellent family safety rules for online computing. Encourage your children to acknowledge and follow these rules:
- Children should always ask for their parents’ permission before giving out their full name, address, age, sex, telephone number or school name. Children should be made aware that people could pose as someone else while they are online.
- If they come across any information that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared, they should hit the back key, log off and tell a trusted adult as soon as possible.
- They should never respond to any obnoxious, sexual or menacing e-mail messages they receive. All electronic harassment and/or abuse should be reported to the company responsible for your Internet access. The police should be notified of all attempts by adults to set up meetings with children, or if you become aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography.
- Children should never agree to meet in person with someone they’ve met online unless they have discussed it with their parents first. If they get permission to meet someone, an adult should always accompany them and the meeting should be arranged for a public place.
The following are not necessarily evidence of a problem, but they could be warning signs that your child may be involved in computer-related crime:
- Computer addiction. The child withdraws from friends, family and spends all their time on the computer. Computer and modem running late at night, even when unattended. If the computer is showing a series of changing numbers, the computer may be running a hacking program trying to identify calling card “pin” numbers or long distance telephone numbers. If the computer is showing sixteen digit numbers, the computer may be trying to validate credit card numbers.
- Computer related doodling or writing using words such as Hacking, Phreaking or any words with the letters “ph” replacing the letter “f”.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection's Cybertip!ca is a Canadian Internet tipline for receiving and addressing reports from the public regarding child pornography, luring, child sex-tourism, children exploited through prostitution and child trafficking. When Cybertip!ca receives a report of behaviour that it assesses to be potentially illegal, it refers the report to police. Visit our Cybertip!ca page for more information.
Be Web Aware is a national, bilingual public education program on Internet safety. The objective of this project is to ensure young Canadians benefit from the Internet, while being safe and responsible in their online activities. The site, developed by Media Awareness Network, is full of information and tools to help parents teach their children to handle the potential risks associated with going online.
The web is a wonderful place, if you understand the dangers. While the Internet is like an open door to a world of great information, communication and entertainment, it can also be a direct passageway to danger. The Canadian Centre is committed to helping parents, teachers, and anyone else who would like to better understand the good, the bad, and the ugly about the web.
Internet101.ca is a website created by a committee of police forces, led by the RCMP, providing a collection of safety tips, helpful presentations and links to police-approved resources to help kids and parents surf safely (plus cool games!).
you need more information or have any questions about computer &
Internet safety, contact the Winnipeg Police Service Community Relations Unit at 204-986-6322 or email us
Community Relations Unit
P.O Box 1680
Canada R3C 2Z7
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