(Annapolis, MD) WNAV — The Internet has become a necessary
function to get valid information, communicate, nurture business connections and it is a legitimate source for news.It is also an open window of opportunity for criminals to get access inside your home through the computer screen and other electronic devices.
February 8th is “Safer Internet Day” and Maryland State Police are sending out warnings to raise awareness about online information sharing.
For those with children under their supervision: Have open communication with children about sharing personal information like where you live, when you are at home alone and where you attend school. And starting early is key for messaging to start, as soon as they have unsupervised access to any communication device.
Consider the following:
- One in six youths, ages 9-17, have admitted to sharing a nude image.
- Of those, 50% admitted that they didn’t care if they knew the recipient in real life.
- Also, 41% of those youth who have shared a nude image also sent images to people they believed were adults.
- One in four of sextortion cases were 13 or younger when they were threatened.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), cases of online enticement, which involve an individual communicating with someone believed to be a child via the internet with the intent to commit a sexual offense or abduction, surged since the start of the pandemic.
In 2020, NCMEC recorded 37,872 cases of online enticement, compared to 19,174 in 2019.
This represents a 97.5% increase year-over-year.
- Place computers in a common area of the house
- Educate yourself about digital devices and the Internet
- Make reasonable rules and set screen time limits
- Reinforce the guiding rule “Don’t talk to strangers”
- Put accounts in your name and know your child’s passwords
- Don’t let your children give out personal information online
- Be aware of other digital devices your child may be using
- Review the use histories or logs of your digital devices to see where your children have been online
Internet Tips for our Seniors from MSP:
Senior citizens are also a target of online scammers.
- Use extreme caution when sharing personal information online
- Avoid suspicious emails that ask for personal information
- Avoid the release of personal information in an unsafe forum
- Maintain adequate internet security
- Avoid any requests for remote access to your computer
- Create strong passwords
- Never send money to someone you don’t know
- Always validate someone’s identity before trusting them online
For those interested in learning more about Internet safety, you can contact Internet Safety Specialist Joe Dugan at [email protected].