February 10, 2006
We all teach our kids not to talk to strangers. Then we turn around, every day, and let them do it. As you’ll see in this special assignment, like it or not, when your kids are logging on to the Internet they could be logging on to danger.
They are our sons and our daughters, and they’re growing up in an internet-world. It’s a place where even an innocent online game can pull kids onto a chat page where they can see lines like: “Is it hot in here, or is it just me?”
Mark Staples is the Chief Information Security Officer at the Medical College of Georgia, and he’s talking about some of the parents he deals with in seminars on Internet safety. He wants your kids to repeat these rules:
“I don’t talk to strangers and I don’t post information about myself or my family that can be traced back to me,” Staples said.
The most dangerous place on the net? Chat rooms where your kids are already speaking a language all their own. Mark says you need to learn it.
“Like P-I-R, parent in room, a young person types that in and all the conversation stops until the parent leaves, so the parent doesn’t see what’s going on,” Staples said,
And there’s A-S-L, shorthand for Age/Sex/Location, a clear sign that someone’s fishing for information.
Think you’re really ready to see what’s going on? Comes with us to the website perverted-justice.com. Don’t let the name scare you away, these are the good guys. It’s a site devoted to turning the tables against the people targeting your kids. They catch pedophiles in the act, post their pictures, and let you see how the conversation unfolds.
Here’s part of a conversation between someone with the screen name “pervectguy” and someone he thinks is a 13-year-old girl:
pervectguy (10:02:35 AM): hmm i wish i could take you
swgeorgiapeach91 (10:02:45 AM): me to
pervectguy (10:03:29 AM): i like to see the way you look
in your bikini
pervectguy (10:04:34 AM): you know i will have a hard time
keeping my hands off of you
swgeorgiapeach91 (10:04:48 AM): yeah
pervectguy (10:05:43 AM): you wouldn't mind?
swgeorgiapeach91 (10:05:48 AM): no
The rest of the conversation is too graphic to show you, but pervectguy is now facing charges.
Again, a chat room is the best place for a pedophile to contact your kids.
“If you walk up on your child and he’s on the computer, watch for them switching screen real quick or minimizing the screen, that’s real important right there,” said James Van Metter, MCG.
And remember this, the Internet can be a very deceiving place. Just because someone says, “I have brown eyes and long hair, I’m a vegetarian and I love spending time outdoors,” the reality might look a lot different.
Parents, if you want to contact Mark or James, the internet security experts at MCG, they’ll be happy to do a seminar group for you. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And that eye-opening website we mentioned is perverted-justice.com.