Kids’ Online Friendships Can Pose Offline Danger

 

Victory State Bank is echoing the concerns of the FBI when it comes to the safety of children using the Internet.

Parents need to know that predators posing as youngsters try to engage kids online.

The FBI explains that social networking sites are websites that encourage people to post profiles of themselves — complete with pictures, interests, and even journals — so they can meet like-minded friends. Most also offer chat rooms. Most sites are free; some restrict membership by age. 

The FBI warns that these sites can also be appealing to child sexual predators, as the sites provide easy and immediate access to information on potential victims. Even worse, kids want to look cool, so they sometimes post suggestive photos of themselves on the sites.

DANGER IS PERVASIVE

How pervasive is the problem? Even with all the media attention on the dangers of social networking, the FBI still receives hundreds of complaints per year about children who have been victims of criminal incidents on social networks. These incidents include but are not limited to:

  • Adults posing as children who are about the same age as the victim who later travel to abuse the child; and
  • Adults posing as children who convince the child to expose themselves and/or perform sexual acts over webcam and later extort the child to perform additional acts.

BE AWARE

The FBI is urging parents to be aware and involved.

To help you keep your children safe, especially if they are visiting networking sites, Victory State Bank is sharing the following tips from the FBI:

1)       Monitor your children’s use of the Internet; keep your Internet computer in an open, common room of the house.

2)       Tell your kids why it’s so important not to disclose personal information online.

3)       Check your kids’ profiles and what they post online.

4)       Read and follow the safety tips provided on the sites.

5)       Report inappropriate activity to the website or law enforcement immediately.

6)       Explain to your kids that once images are posted online they lose control of them and can never get them back.

7)       Only allow your kids to post photos or any type of personally identifying information on websites with your knowledge and consent.

8)       Instruct your kids to use privacy settings to restrict access to profiles so only the individuals on their contact lists can view their profiles.

9)       Remind kids to only add people they know in real life to their contact lists.

10)   Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names or nicknames.

11)   Talk to your kids about creating strong passwords.

12)   Visit social networking websites with your kids, and exchange ideas about acceptable versus potentially risky websites.

13)   Ask your kids about the people they are communicating with online.

14)   Make it a rule with your kids that they can never give out personal information or meet anyone in person without your prior knowledge and consent. If you agree to a meeting between your child and someone they met online, talk to the parents/guardians of the other individual first and accompany your kids to the meeting in a public place.

15)   Encourage your kids to consider whether a message is harmful, dangerous, hurtful, or rude before posting or sending it online, and teach your kids not to respond to any rude or harassing remarks or messages that make them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused and to show you the messages instead. 

16)   Educate yourself on the websites, software, and apps that your child uses.

17)   Don’t forget cell phones! They often have almost all the functionality of a computer.

 

LEARN MORE

To learn more about protecting your children, both on and off the Internet, visit the FBI’s “About Protecting Your Kids” webpage at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/protecting-your-kids.

 

 

About Victory State Bank

 

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

 

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