NORFOLK -- The FBI is making a plea to parents to step-up online safety measures for children following recent high-profile cases involving the capture of child predators who found their victims online.
Two Norfolk Special Agents for the FBI, Paula Barrows and Jack Moughn, say they hope the recent arrest of former college professor Walter Lee Williams sheds some light on what they call "a growing problem."
Williams was picked up on June 18th in Mexico on child exploitation charges involving two children he allegedly lured online.
The agents say parents need to make sure their children aren't engaging in risky behavior that they may think is innocent.
"We've had several cases where we've had young females primarily--disrobing on their web cam and then they regret that and wsih they can have the images back and once they are in cyber space--they're gone," Said barrows in an interview with 13 News.
These local agents are part of a greater, national campaign called Innocent Images National Initiative.
As part of that campaign, the FBI's Washington Field Office has released the Top Ten Internet Safety Rules ‘N Tools:
- Establish Rules. Time allowed online; approved sites to visit; know your child’s online activities; approve buddy lists.
- Common Space Computers. Supervise the use of the computer.
- Keep It Neutral. Choose gender neutral, non-revealing, non-suggestive screen names and e-mail addresses.
- Open Communication. Establish an ongoing dialogue and spend time on the Internet with your child.
- Protect Personal Information. Supervise photos, profiles, and other information posted online.
- Use Privacy Settings. Restrict access to and limit who can view your child’s social networking and online gaming profiles.
- Think Before You Post. Supervise the types of photos and videos being posted online. Allow webcam usage only under strict supervision.
- Know Where They Go. Learn the social networking sites and how your children communicate online.
- Don’t Meet A Stranger. If you do not know the person in real life, never agree to a face-to-face meeting.
- Utilize Software Tools. Filters to block inappropriate websites; parental controls; monitoring software; limit live audio chat; use safe search engines; check Internet history; check image files; set up the family’s Internet accounts
Parents can learn more about this subject through the FBI's Innocent Images Campaign and Project Safe Childhood http://www.justice.gov/psc/.