Internet Crimes Against Children

Social Networking Sites

 

Recent disturbing incidents involving Internet crimes against children have been prominent in the media. In some incidents, the crimes have involved suspects and victims who met each other via Internet social networking sites. Social networking sites are places on the Internet where people can meet one another, communicate and interact.

 

Social networking and communication are normal parts of the human experience. Young people are naturally curious about themselves, about others, and about the world and the sites permit them to reach out to others from around the globe, sometimes with tragic results.

 

Why are social networking sites popular?

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Most social networking sites are free and supported by advertisers who hope users will buy products or services advertised on the sites. Young people who are curious and seeking relationships and new experiences visit the sites to find others.

 

How do the sites work?

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How do the sites work? Any computer with Internet access can be used to permit someone to join a site. Some sites require only that the registrant provide an email address and often there is no verification process to check the truthfulness of any of the information that a registrant provides. Most sites require that users abide by conditions and terms of use meant to thwart improper conduct, but enforcement is often lax. Once a registrant becomes a member, he or she can post personal information, images or other information depending upon the features available at the site. Unless a user chooses privacy options, all posted information may be visible to any other user of a site.

 

What are the dangers?

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Those who misuse the sites may do so in many ways, including:

  • Luring/enticement. Internet sexual predators and known sex offenders have used social networking sites to locate and lure victims.
  • Identity theft. Criminals steal the identities of those who post personal information.
  • Cyberbullying/harassment. Agitators post derogatory, hurtful or threatening information about others.
  • Stalking. Stalkers can use personal information posted to sites to locate and pursue victims.
  • Fraud schemes. Criminals who wish to defraud others of money or property can locate victims, gain their trust and then take advantage of that trust for criminal purposes.
  • Inappropriate sexual content. Some users post sexually explicit information that is inappropriate for young computer users.
 

What tips will help my child avoid these dangers?

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  • Understand that all items posted can be viewed by others, including college admissions offices, parents and potential predators.
  • Do not post personal images.
  • Do not post personal information --- including full name, age or date of birth, home or business address, school name or grade.
  • Do not post personal information regarding friends to your site or to their site.
  • Do not post your calendar of upcoming events or information about your future whereabouts.
  • Social Networking sites often have a minimum age necessary to create an account. Make sure you check the websites your children want to be a part of and see that they meet these requirements before allowing them to open a page.
 

Easy instructions for parents and kids to be safer on Facebook

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  • Log into your personal Facebook account. www.facebook.com
  • At the bottom of your Home Page, click on the word “About”.
  • From there, look on the left side for the word “Resources” and click.
  • On this page, look at the “Need Help?” section. Here you will find a tab called “Security Page” that lets you know the latest tips on how to be safer on Facebook. Also you will see a tab that says “Facebook Safety Page” which will give you the most recent updates and feedback on safety issues.
 

Easy instructions for parents and kids to be safer on Twitter

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  • Log into your personal Twitter account. www.twitter.com
  • Look to the right hand side on the bottom and click on the link that says “About”.
  • From there, look to the left side and click on the “Safety” link.
  • Here you will find information on how to report security issues you find on Twitter.

There are many social networking sites. Some of them are listed below:

Twitter
Twitter
Facebook
Facebook
Dribble
Dribbble
Flicker
Flicker
Linked In
Linked In
Blogger
Blogger
Myspace
Myspace
Bebo
Bebo
Stumble Upon
Stumble Upon
Deviant Art
Deviant Art
Meetup
Meetup
Digg
Digg
Last FM
Last FM
Ning
Ning
Behance
Behance
Skype
Skype
HubPages
HubPages
Tagged
Tagged
Hi 5
Hi 5
Technorati"
Technorati