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Internet Safety

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is dedicated to the safety of everyone utilizing the Internet. The following rules are suggested by The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and endorsed by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

 

Tips for Kids

 

  • I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents’ permission.
  • I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.
  • I will never agree to get together with someone I “meet” online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.
  • I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.
  • I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the online service.
  • I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.

 

Adapted from Child Safety on the Information Highway by Lawrence J. Magid. Copyright © 1994 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). All rights reserved.

 

Tips for Teens

 

  • Don’t give out personal information about yourself, your family situation, your school, your telephone number or your address.
  • If you become aware of the sharing, use or viewing of child pornography online, immediately report this to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
  • When in chat rooms remember that not everyone may be who they say they are. For example, a person who says “she” is a 14-year-old girl from New York may really be a 42-year-old man from California. 1
  • If someone harasses you online, says anything inappropriate, or does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, contact your Internet Service Provider.
  • Know that there are rules many Internet Service Providers (ISP) have about online behavior. If you disobey an ISP’s rules, your ISP may penalize you by disabling your account, and sometimes every account in a household, either temporarily or permanently.
  • Consider volunteering at your local library, school, or Boys & Girls Club to help younger children online. Many schools and nonprofit organizations are in need of people to help set up their computers and Internet capabilities.
  • A friend you meet online may not be the best person to talk to if you are having problems at home, with your friends, or at school – remember the teenage “girl” from New York in the tip above? If you can’t find an adult in your school, church, club or neighborhood to talk to, Covenant House is a good place to call at 1-800-999-9999. The people there provide counseling to kids, refer them to local shelters, help them with law enforcement and can serve as mediators by calling their parents.
  • If you are thinking about running away, a friend from online (remember the 14-year-old girl) may not be the best person to talk to. If there is no adult in your community you can find to talk to, call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000. Although some of your online friends may seem to really listen to you, the Switchboard will be able to give you honest, useful answers to some of your questions about what to do when you are depressed, abused or thinking about running away. 2

 

1 Adapted from Teen Safety on the Information Highway by Lawrence J. Magid. Copyright© respectively 1994 and 1998 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). All rights reserved.

2 Adapted from Children Online: The ABCs for Parenting: When Is Your Child Ready by The Children’s Partnership. Reprinted with permission of The Children’s Partnership. www.childrenspartnership.org

 

Additional information can be obtained from the following websites:

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
www.missingkids.com

NetSmartz Workshop
www.netsmartz.org

Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Site
www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft

Internet Crime Complaint Center
www.ic3.gov

LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com
www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com/index.aspx