Internet safety: a matter of life or death
by Heidi Harrison Chain
Jun 30, 2009 | 10353 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President, 112th Precinct Community Council

Last week, someone was murdered in Forest Hills. According to the newspaper reports, the victim had met his killer on the Internet. This is at least the third such incident is recent months.

With the creation of the Internet, online dating has become a way of people connecting. However, everyone must be very careful when meeting people online. As parents we must protect our children. As adults we must protect ourselves.

You should never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone that you met on the Internet in your home.

IF you decide to meet in person, pick a public place and make sure you are familiar with the area before you agree to the location. Meet during the day. While you want to relax and have fun, your life could depend on your choices. Meet your potential match at the rendezvous location, and never rely on someone you don't know for a ride. Don't even accept a ride home even when you feel as though your date is on the up and up. If you drove, you also want to avoid allowing them to walk you to your car. It's best to even keep the make, model, and license plate of your car a secret.

You also should give your date details (time, date, and location) to a friend. You can ask a friend to call you on your cell phone to check in during the date.

You must remember the information that someone tells you about themselves online may or may not be true.

Parents should instruct their children that they should never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met online.

Children should not be unsupervised on the Internet. There are signs that children might be at risk online. If a child spends hours at a time online, parents should be aware and involved in their activities.

If the child receives phone calls from strangers that the parent does not know or long distance phone calls, this could be a cause of concern.

If the child receives mail, gifts or packages from someone that the parent does not know, this could be part of the seduction process.

Children should never post pictures of themselves online, or give out identifying information such as their name, address, phone numbers, or school.

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