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Guide on Protecting... Introduction...

Guide on Protecting... Introduction...

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Published by Tony Dillett

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Published by: Tony Dillett on Jul 17, 2009
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Cyberspace – Protecting Children as they Surf the Web Part II-Introduction and the Internet A series of articles will

be published over the next few months, covering the safety of children in Cyberspace that are intended for informational purposes only. The articles are intended as a preview of a complete e-book that will be published soon Actually these articles are a follow up to one that was originally published under the title “Parents Monitor your Children Part I”. The articles are not to be used as a source of legal advice. All attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, therefore neither the Author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. (i) Introduction The most important cyberspace rights of an under aged child is the right to be protected from sexual predators, identity thieves, drug dealers, pornography peddlers and anyone or any organization that promotes freedom of speech over the child’s safety. There is also protection from commercial entities that would violate the child’s privacy for commercial gain. It is pertinent to mention the foregoing because the rights of perpetrators are sometimes promoted over the rights of victims. It is also important for parents to be knowledgeable about tools that are available that make the job of protecting under aged children easier. Parents are the first line of defense against any threat to the safety of children. It is therefore incumbent on us to make sure, as far as is humanly possible, that the defense is as impregnable as possible and that we are doing our level best to do our jobs. Do not be intimidated by the overwhelming quantity of data that is out there, or by anyone or any organization that attempts to dilute your vigilance. Parents cannot afford to be tired in this never-ending fight to protect children. Know your rights and in knowing exercise those rights for the benefit of your children. In the commercial sphere, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established specific rules to protect the privacy of children and they take this quite seriously. The rule is known as the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” (COPPA) and a summary of the contents of the law is given in Section I (iii). The complete provisions of the law may be seen at the COPPA web site www.coppa.org, click on the link “What is COPPA?” and you will be taken directly to the site. Some companies have been cited and fined for violating the privacy act. If a web site collects personal information from children it must comply with the law or the owner will face the consequences. There is no substitute for your involvement in your children’s lives. Speak with them often, at breakfast, around the dinner table or where ever you can get a word in. Do not be deterred by their apparent disinterest. They are listening and in quite a number of cases their seemingly disinterest is only a guise to see just how much you care about their activities and the length you will go to get your thoughts across. Do not nag, but gently get to know what your children are doing particularly when they are surfing the internet or hanging out with friends.

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A review of the list of contents will show that subjects such as “Identity Theft” and “Bullying” are also included in this e-book. Pay as much attention to these subjects as they are very much inter-related with protecting children. According to the United States Postal Service (USPS), identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the USA and children and the elderly are prime targets. Online predators and others may use bullying tactics to get to your children. It is therefore important for parents to know how to deal with these issues. But, before we delve into the subject, the first question that may be asked by some parents is: “What is the Internet?” Unfortunately this is a legitimate question that is being asked on a daily basis by a number of parents who know next to nothing about a technology that consumes so much of their children’s time. For some working parents the question is not “What is the Internet?” but “How can I become knowledgeable on the subject?” The following brief description of the Internet should suffice the latter group of parents for the moment. A brief history with definitions and terms are given below together with an excellent resource to bring both groups of parents up to a working knowledge of the Internet. (ii) The Internet: The Internet is a worldwide collection of computers that are linked together to exchange data. The connection is made through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as AOL, MSN, Internet Explorer and others. Being on the Internet is usually referred to as “being online” or “surfing the Internet”. The connection is made via telephone lines and/or satellite links. The size, scope and design of the Internet allow users to:
    

Connect easily through ordinary personal computers and local phone numbers; Exchange electronic mail (E-mail) with friends and colleagues with accounts on the Internet; Post information for others to access such as pictures, blogs and other information; Access multimedia information that includes music, photographic images and even video; Access diverse perspectives from around the world.

An additional feature of the Internet is that it lacks a central authority. Beyond the various governing boards that work to establish policies and standards, the Internet is bound by few rules and answers to no single organization. Since there are no standard regulations establishing what can and cannot be done, it leaves a gaping hole for pedophiles and predators to slip through and be a threat to the well-being and safety of our children. This is the reason for concern and why parents must act to protect children as they surf the Internet. A valuable resource in this respect is the software produced by SpectorSoft and is available for both Windows and Mackintosh applications. Just click on the SpectorSoft link above and it will take you to the SpectorSoft website where you can see a description of the software and where you can purchase it if it meets with your approval.

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The e-book on “A Guide on How to Protect our Children in Cyberspace” will be published in its entirety for a download cost of $8.00 on or before September 10, 2009. Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to a non-profit dedicated to children’s safety on the Internet. The complete information on the name of the non-profit and the exact date of publication will be provided soon. In the meantime, just look out for Part III of the “Guide…” entitled “Warning signs that are Easily Apparent”. Anthony Dillett Author

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