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Internet Safety
 
 
 
 
 
            To paraphrase Mark Twain’s description of children, the internet is "an inestimable joy and burden." Never before has our society had such instant access to information, people, and ideas. With the click of a button we can access any conceivable topic. Although the internet is a recent invention, it is hard to imagine life without it. In schools today, the internet has become a primary source of research and communication. 
            But danger lurks. Serious danger. The internet has become a primary vehicle for drug dealing, gambling, promiscuity (voyeurism and exhibitionism), the promotion of unhealthy behaviors (such as eating disorders and self-injurious behavior), and bullying, stalking, and sexual predation of minors.
 
 
            Imagine you are a parent at home and hear a commotion outside your front door. You look out to notice several teenagers who are taunting and threatening your child. Or perhaps it is a 40 year-old sexual predator peering inside your daughter’s window at night. 
            Parents will go to great lengths to protect their children from these threats. Or would they?  
            All students are at risk for internet bullying and on-line sexual predation. School and law enforcement officials throughout the country have seen a significant increase in the number of complaints regarding these issues, and several arrests have already been made in this area.
            But these are just the ones that are reported. Many students admit to being the victim of internet bullying, sexual solicitation, and unwanted exposure to pornography on-line. Many students suffer from the effects of these experiences without reporting them. 
            Part of the problem is that on-line interaction with others still has a “virtual” feel to it. Teens sitting at home on the computer, typically in their own bedrooms, are likely to say things they wouldn’t ordinarily say in person. This increases the likelihood that students will bully, harass, or intimidate others on-line, and also increases the likelihood that they will engage in sexually provocative conversations with others—whether they know who they’re talking to or not. 
            Sexual predators use the internet to identify and locate specific individuals. Many times, teenagers offer this information to strangers—knowingly or not. Yet potential sex offenders do not need your help. One or two pieces of information (a picture, address, name of home town, location of school and activities, phone numbers for text messaging, etc.) are all that is necessary for a stranger to gain detailed information about a person. 
Social networking sites (such as Facebook) and text messaging have become hugely popular among adolescents, providing them with opportunities for regular (but at times obsessive) communication and affiliation with peers. Unfortunately, these personal web pages also enable bullying and harassment, and facilitate promiscuous behavior through postings of provocative pictures and information. These sites are commonly used by sexual predators to target potential victims.
            Children and parents must become knowledgeable of both the explicit and subtle dangers of the web so that they can safely negotiate their way in cyberspace.
 
 
 
 
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office has teamed up with the Chase Wilson Organization in Montvale , NJ (the producers of the DWI prevention film “Stoned Cold”) to create two  new films about Internet safety.  
           The films "Sticks and Stones" and "The Web" vividly portray the dangers of on-line bullying and sexual predation.

To view pictures of the filming, CLICK HERE

Internet Safety Films
 
 
"Sticks and Stones"
"The Web"
A film about cyber-bullying A film about sexual predation
 

For more information, previews, and media coverage, click the Chase Wilson icon below:

 

 
 
 
Are you posting too much on your MySpace or Facebook???
Click HERE
 
 
 
 
 
 
Close to one in seven boys and girls ages 10 through 17 reports getting sexual solicitations from strangers online, and 34 percent of underage chatters have been unwillingly exposed to sexual images, according to a report recently issued by Internet Crimes Against Kids ,
 
 
 
 
Are you on-line way too much?
 
 
 
 
 
Useful Links (click any icon)
                  Park Ridge Police Department - Dangers of the virtual world 
                  Bergen County Prosecutor's Office / Computer Crimes  
                 i-SAFE -- Internet Safety Education
                  National Criminal Justice Reference Center   
                  Department of Education website (Parents Guide to the Internet)
                  Protect Kids.Com -- Protecting Children in Cyberspace
 
 
 
              
             
 
 
 
 
Last Updated: 5/21/12
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