June 12, 2019

Attention Parents: New Warning from the FBI about Child Predators

"As the school year across the country winds down, the threat of online predators is on the increase" - FBI

Don't Let Your Child Fall Victim to Sextortion

Dear Friends,

Summer is here and that likely means your kids are home with lots of extra time on their hands. Chances are, they are connected to their computer, tablet, phone or gaming system - each of which opens the gates to online predators. 

The FBI is warning parents that they are seeing in increase in the number of sextortion cases involving minors across the country, according to a recent ABCnews.com report.Sextortion is when an adult coerces or entices kids under 18 to "produce a sexually explicit image of themselves and then transmit that image to them on the internet," Brian Herrick (FBI's Criminal Division) told ABC News.

Before your kids sink into their summer routine using these devices, it's up to you, parents, grandparents and caregivers to make sure your kids' summertime cyber-experiences are positive and safe. Please, take time now to talk to your child about safe Internet practices and secure all devices connected to the Internet.

June is Internet Safety Month!
We've created a simple acronym to help you remember steps to protect your children from online dangers. Think "SUMMER."

Set clear expectations and establish an ongoing dialogue. Have a serious conversation with your kids to discuss expectations for use of the Internet this summer. Consistently reinforce those expectations and spend time with your child online to create an atmosphere of trust. Encourage your children to make good decisions and temper your reactions if they run into danger. Together review and sign the Rules N' Tools youth pledge. 

Understand the need for cyber-safety and implement Rules N' Tools on all Internet-enabled devices including desktops, laptops, smart phones, gaming devices and tablets. The top 3 tools I recommend that every parent use on all devices used by your kids are filtering, monitoring and time limiting tools, and start young. Ideally, (1) review the Internet Safety 101® video clips on our YouTube channel and consider using them as conversation starters with your tweens and teens, (2) Get a copy of the Internet Safety 101® Workbook and Resource Guide (now $5.00, retail price $29.95), and (3) Print out the Rules N' Tools checklist and post it in a place where you will see it frequently. Take five minutes each week to review the checklist. 

Make sure you are 'friends' with your child on social networking sites and gaming sites. Be sure you, as the parent or grandparent, are added to your child's 'friends' and 'followers' lists; otherwise if their profiles are set to private - as they should be - you will not be able to view any of your child's activity. If you are unsure whether your child has an online profile, conduct a simple online search. You'll also be able to see what your child is posting on social media sites outside the home. 

Match online time with quality time. Kids love spending time on the Internet. But they also love spending time with you. Make sure you set technology time outs each day to spend with your kids doing something they enjoy. It doesn't need to be an all day affair, but regular quality time will deepen your relationship with your child. Additionally, make sure your kids are spending quality face time with their friends and family members and engage in outdoor play.

Evolve with the Internet and mobile technologies.  In order to fully protect your kids from digital dangers on ever-evolving digital technology, stay up to date on the latest technology, platforms and apps your child is using. Growing Wireless has collaborated with wireless corporations to develop a site listing all of the 'Parental Control Tools' available by your wireless and internet service providers. Many of these controls are free but they don't work unless you use them. 

Review, research and monitor the sites your children view. Consider using monitoring software to provide a full and complete record of sites your child visited online, monitor communications, and identify online friends. Many monitoring tools can send parents a periodic report summarizing their child's Internet usage and communications. EIE recommends that parents tell their children that monitoring software is being used.

We've got loads of great information on Internet Safety 101® on a variety of Internet safety topics, as well as recommended tools to keep your kids protected in the digital world. Let's work together to provide a safer, kinder Internet for children and families! 

Have a great and cyber-safe summer!

President & CEO 

Enough Is Enough®