Cyber Crime Tips for Parents

The creepy kidnapper offering your children “candy” and “special attention” may now be operating from your home computer screen, rather than trolling the neighborhood in a trench coat.  Parents should make themselves aware of the signs and signals that your child may be in danger from one of these internet predators.

Warning Signs That a Child May be in Danger

  • The child spends a great deal of time online, especially at night.
  • You find pornography on the child’s computer.
  • The child receives telephone calls from adults whom you do not know or makes telephone calls to numbers that you do not recognize.
  • The child receives mail, gifts or packages from persons whom you do not know.
  • The child withdraws from normal interaction with family and friends.
  • The child has a noticeable change in behavior, attitudes or beliefs.
  • The child has a significant decrease in academic performance.
  • The child turns the computer off or quickly changes
    the screen when you enter the room.

For Parents of Teens —

Be aware that teens may be more at risk of being victimized by predators online than younger children. This is because teens may have more frequent, unsupervised access to the computer. The online discussions in chat rooms can potentially involve people from around the world; there are no limitations. So, teens can form relationships with a variety of people from a variety of places.

Chat rooms, considered to be the most dangerous of areas on the Internet, may be especially troublesome for teens. Chat rooms may be public, with participation in live global conversations, or private, where only a few participate. Both adult predators and unsuspecting teens use public chat rooms. Teens, of course, have no way of knowing that they are communicating with adults. Teens can also be enticed from public chat rooms into private ones where there is the potential for harassment and exploitation by adult predators. Teens also can be exposed to material that is sexual, hateful, or violent in nature, or that encourages illegal or dangerous activities.

Instant messaging (IM), as the name suggests, is real-time communication. As soon as a message is typed and sent, it appears on the screen of the individual to whom it is sent. This very popular form of communication among teens has potential dangers as well. Uncertainty about the identity of those with whom teens might be talking is a major disadvantage for parents. Some services through which teens use instant messaging offer a profile option, allowing them to enter personal information about themselves which can be viewed by the public.

E-mail is more like regular mail in that a message is sent to a person and that recipient has the option of responding. However, e-mail can be sent out to thousands of persons at a time, just like a mass mailing. Teens may be on a mass e-mail list and receive mail from companies or persons they do not even know. They should be warned not to open or respond to mail from unknown e-mail addresses; it may contain links to pornographic or other inappropriate sites. Teens should also be aware that any e-mail response sent by them could potentially be copied or forwarded without their knowledge or permission.

Checking Your Child’s Internet Activity

Listed below are some links to parental site monitoring/blocking software. This information is intended for parents only and its publication should not be perceived as an endorsement of any of these programs by the AGO. As of the date this information was posted, our research did not uncover any that were free of charge. We cannot endorse or guarantee the content of these sites.  Remember, parental involvement is the most effective tool. 

The following tips are adapted from the Utah ICAC Task Force’s Publication “A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety.”

How to review Internet history:
To find out which web sites and pages that your child may have recently viewed while online, click on the “History” button on your Internet browser. A list of the viewed sites will then drop down.

How to review temporary Internet files:
You can review the temporary Internet sites that your child has accessed by first clicking on the “My Computer” icon. Next click on the “C” drive and then on the “Windows” folder. Click on the “Temp” folder and then on the “Temporary Internet Files” folder to access the list.

Other Online Safety Links for Kids & Parents

Federal Agencies’ Safety Alerts –
Reviews of Filters, Monitors, Scams, Phishing –
Reviews of Movies & Online Media for Safety – Common Sense Media
Missing Children, Online Safety – 
Online Privacy for Parents and Children Reviews – TrustE
Social Network Safety Tips for Teens –
Online Safety for Teens –
Online Safety for Young Children –