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Winnipeg Police Service

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Crime Prevention > Internet Safety

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Did You Know?

  • Only 28% of parents are aware that their children use instant messaging.
  • According to Statistics Canada, today's youth spend more time on the computer than they do in front of the television.

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.

Children & The Internet: The Risks

Some of the risks to children include:

  • Exposure to inappropriate material of a sexual or violent nature
  • Physical molestation - 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 child''s confidence and then arranged a face-to-face meeting.
  • 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
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Children & The InternetProtecting your Children

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.
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Rules for Safe Computing for Children

The following are excellent family safety rules for online computing. Encourage your children to acknowledge and follow these rules:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Computer Crime: Warning Signs

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”.
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Report Child Pornography

Cybertip!ca

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection operates Cybertip.ca, Canada's tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. When Cybertip.ca receives a report of behaviour that it assesses to be potentially illegal, it refers the report to police. Visit Cybertip.ca for more information.

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Internet Safety Links

BeWebAware.ca

Click here to visit BeWebAware.caNeedHelpNow.ca helps teens stop the spread of sexual pictures or videos and provides support along the way. If you or someone you know has been negatively impacted by a self/peer exploitation incident, we are here to help offer guidance on the steps you can take to get through it and #ChangeTheStory.

 

Internet101.ca

Click here to visit Internet101.caInternet101.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!).

 

If 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 via email


If you would like a Police Officer to provide a Power Point Presentation on this topic you can forward your request via one of three ways:
  • email your request to wps-communityrelations@winnipeg.ca
  • fax your request to 204-957-2450
  • mail your request to:
    Unit Commander
    Community Relations Unit
    P.O Box 1680
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Canada R3C 2Z7
Due to demand, we request you contact us at least six weeks prior to the event. Most presentations are one hour in duration and handouts are provided. The presentation is free of charge - room to be supplied by the organization requesting the presentation, with a minimum of 20 attendees.
 

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"An Internationally Accredited Law Enforcement Agency"
Last update: October 10, 2017

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