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Watch Out For Cyber Predators

Posted by familydynamics on May 12, 2008

Last year, the European Union (EU) launched a survey on Internet usage and mobile phones under the EU’s Safer Internet Programme. The Eurobarometer’s qualitative survey spanned across 29 countries and was conducted between March to May 2007.

The survey interviewed children between the ages of 9 and 14 from all 27 EU member states. They were asked in-depth questions on their usage of the Internet, and how they would react to problems and risks when using the Internet and mobile phones.

According to the EU’s press release posted on their website, the survey results highlighted the need for proactive online media education, especially on the opportunities and risks posed by the Internet. Many children who were interviewed revealed experiences that could make any parents’ blood turn cold, which includes a “teen” arranging a meeting with a 12-year-old cyber-friend.

The “teen” turned out to be a 44-year-old man. European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding said where the security of the children is at stake, there can be no room for complacency.

She added that it is also important to continue raising awareness on the opportunities and risks of new media, especially among parents. As the Internet provides a worldwide link, the risks posed by cyber predators are not limited by borders.

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New Hampshire’s Governor Applauds Online Child Safety Act

Posted by familydynamics on May 1, 2008

On Wednesday, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch applauded the House’s strong vote in support of the Online Child Safety Act, which seeks to modernize state laws to better protect children from sexual predators who use the Internet. The Senate unanimously voted to pass the legislation last month.

The bill strengthens the penalties in existing law for enticing a child over the Internet, and provides enhanced penalties for repeat offenders; it overhauls and expands existing child pornography laws to better reflect the victimization that occurs everyday when images of sexually abused children are created and distributed; and it closes a loophole so that sex offenders using web cams can be held accountable.

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Agreement May Be Reached To Protect Children Online

Posted by familydynamics on January 14, 2008

Social networking sites may now be required to release their plans on how they will protect children from online predators:

Attorneys general from 49 states will announce an agreement today aimed at protecting children from online predators, Bloomberg News reported today.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, co-leader of the group of states pushing social-networking sites to better protect children, issued an advisory that the “major agreement” would be announced 11 a.m. in New York.

This is good news because the public have the right to know.

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State Spearheads Efforts To Keep Predators Offline

Posted by familydynamics on January 4, 2008

Nationwide, 31,000 people identified as registered sex offenders have been removed from MySpace, and in Connecticut alone, 417 registered sex offenders have been blocked from using the Web site.

Connecticut is leading a coalition of 50 states that has been negotiating with MySpace and other social networking sites such as Facebook to adopt additional measures to make the sites safer.

This two-year effort underlines an initiative to keep children safe from predators online. Even so, authorities say there may be other predators out there using fake names or who haven’t been convicted. Parents should be aware of where their children are going online, and youth should exercise caution on these social networking sites.

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Protecting Our Children From Sexual Predators

Posted by familydynamics on December 10, 2007

How far would you go to protect your child from an online predator? Since most teenagers spend a large amount of time online, it is essential that we come up with innovative ways to keep them safe. A Wellington mother recently was faced with this dilemma. Here’s her story:

A Wellington woman, who was engaged in “very sexual” cell phone texting exchanges with a country radio personality, took action as soon as her 13-year-old daughter told her she was chatting online with the same man.

The woman said she immediately assumed the online identity of her daughter, whose screen name was SexiMarie123, to see what the man was discussing.

Now Bruno Moore, 36, is accused of soliciting sex online from the then-13-year-old girl during the summer of 2006. Moore, who lives in Port St. Lucie, is a former disc jockey with WIRK, FM 107.9, a country radio station, and a former traffic reporter with WPTV-Ch. 5.

Both mother and daughter communicated with Moore through their separate MySpace pages, e-mail and text messaging. When the daughter realized her mother was communicating with Moore, she confessed about her conversations.

The mother said she had late night “cyber sex” with Moore, texting on her cell phone. She said she was shocked by what her daughter told her.

For three days in June 2006, the mother assumed her daughter’s online identity. Posing as her daughter, the mother told Moore she was 13, not 17. She said she kept a record of e-mails and called the Sheriff’s Office.

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