FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY S OFFICE INTERNET AND CELL PHONE SAFETY

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1 FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY S OFFICE INTERNET AND CELL PHONE SAFETY

2 A Message from District Attorney Peter Weir One of the priorities of the District Attorney s Office is the protection of our most vulnerable citizens, our children. While the allure of the internet and modern technology is here to stay, danger lurks in chat rooms and social media sites. Cheezo and our Child Sex Offender Internet Investigations Unit help protect children by going undercover to investigate internet predators and by teaching them the safety tools they need to be safe online. First Judicial District Attorney Peter Weir THE CHEEZO EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM Has been setup as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. There is no charge for presentations or appearances. We do accept donations in support of our educational programs under this non-profit. Donations can be made to: District Attorney Community Partnership c/o Investigator Mike Harris 500 Jefferson County Parkway Golden, Colorado or online at (Click on donation link at bottom of homepage) For tax purposes our TAX ID Number is

3 INTERNET INVESTIGATIONS The District Attorney s Child Sex Offender Internet Investigation (CSOII) Unit was created in 1996 by DA Investigators Mike and Cassandra Harris. The CSOII Unit is nicknamed Cheezo, which is also the name of their yellow five-foot-tall cool cat mascot. The Harris investigative team was the first in Colorado, and one of the first in the United States, to pro actively seek out online predators. They divide their time between online investigations and presenting safety and educational programs to parents and children in the community. The District Attorney s Office is proud of their Internet safety programs presented to schools, parent groups and other organizations. They have presented over 3000 times to kids and adults. Investigator Mike Harris says, Presenting to kids in an assembly about being safe online is more powerful than any arrest we make. The District Attorney s CSOII Unit also offers these presentations in Spanish. Harris and his team go online undercover, following sex offenders into areas on the Internet frequented by kids. They have made over 785 arrests. If someone sends your child an inappropriate message or picture, contact your local law enforcement agency. Remember to save all messages and photographs for the law enforcement agencies use. Even if a crime has not yet occurred, alarming communications should be reported to law enforcement. It is illegal for an adult to engage in sexual talk with a child under the age of 15 and/or to talk about meeting a child for sexual purpose by , text messaging, or online in chat rooms, social networking or game sites. It is illegal for an adult to send naked pictures of themselves to a child under 15 using cell phones or personal computers , text messaging, or online in chat rooms, social networking or game sites. It is illegal for an adult to ask a child under the age of eighteen for their naked pictures by , text messaging or online in chat rooms, game or social networking sites. To contact the CSOII Unit to book a free presentation, or to inquire about Internet and cell phone safety concerns you can call , or

4 INTERNET SAFETY TIPS KNOW THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH THE SITES THAT YOUR CHILDREN FREQUENT Whether they prefer MySpace, Facebook, Runescape, or others its important to talk to your child about the dangers associated with social networking sites. Communication is the most important tool you have. You control your child s environment at home, but when they are away from home someone else might not have your same rules and concerns. TEACH CHILDREN THE OBVIOUS RULES Tell your children NOT to put their photos on the Internet or to give out their names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, or other personal information. Once a picture is posted online or shared through text messaging it is impossible to know where that picture has gone. You can t get it back. Pictures can be manipulated. Pictures can be saved by sex offenders. EDUCATE YOURSELF, THEN YOUR CHILD Banning a child from certain sites may only motivate them to spend more time there. Talk to your child about how to be safe online and on their cell phone. Talk with your child about the dangers of posting personal information. Talk about people who may be online and may not actually be who they say they are. INSTALL AN INTERNET FILTER OR FAMILY SAFETY SOFTWARE Software is an effective way to filter dangerous content. This software usually comes with time management tools, remote monitoring, and keystroke recognition. Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Some ISPs have filters that you can purchase or they may provide filters for free. Visit a local electronics store to examine and purchase a filtering software program or research a filtering software package online. Choose one that is best for your family. There are safety features available for cell phones from numerous sources and providers. TALK WITH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT ENCOUNTERING PORNOGRAPHY. Teach your child that if they encounter pornography to turn off the power and get an adult. This can prevent a child from attempting to stop the situation by clicking more buttons and thereby spreading the attack or being exposed to more pornography. Talk with your child about the dangers of pornography and how it can become an addiction. Many teenagers are now becoming addicted and obsessed with the viewing of pornography. The addiction to pornography can become just as dangerous as an addiction to drugs. MANAGE YOUR CHILD S TIME ON THE INTERNET/CELL PHONES Schedule your child s Internet usage. When you set guidelines or limits on their Internet usage you reduce their chances of being exposed to inappropriate content. Many children use their phone to text message late into the night. We have found many children even sleep with their cell phone. We recommend that you have your child turn their phones over to parents at a certain time in the evening.

5 SET GUIDELINES AND ENFORCE CONSEQUENCES IF THEY ARE NOT FOLLOWED. Providing guidelines will ensure that your child knows the rules for using the Internet and cell phones, as well as the consequences if they break the rules. If you enforce consequences consistently, children will be more likely to follow the rules. KEEP TECHNOLOGY OUT OF CHILDREN S BEDROOMS. Keep technology devices in a room that is commonly used by the entire family, where children will be less inclined to view material that may not be acceptable. Based on conversations with children in Jefferson County, we have learned that 65% have technology devices in their bedrooms at night. CREATE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD THAT FOSTERS TRUST AND OPEN COMMUNICATION. Open communication and trust is the key. Many times parents overreact. If your child comes to you about pornography on the computer or about being approached by a stranger, they should be applauded. Many parents immediately react out of fear and love. They tell their child that they cannot go to that specific site or prohibit Internet usage altogether. That defeats all trust and closes the door to communication. IF YOU DON T UNDERSTAND THE INTERNET, A WEBSITE OR A GAME SITE, ASK YOUR CHILD TO SHOW YOU. Children like to show off their skills and knowledge about the Internet. You also are accomplishing other things when you ask for your child s help. You are spending valuable one-on-one time with them while communicating with your child and learning where they go and what they do online. COMPROMISE COMMUNICATE Teenagers are attracted to social networking sites. Many parents do not allow their children to be on these sites. Our office recognizes that this is a tough decision for parents to make. If a child is determined to be on a favorite site, they WILL find a way. Some teenagers have two different accounts one for parents, and one for their friends. In Internet safety classes with teenagers, we warn them that if they can t show mom and dad their account then they are putting themselves in harm s way. We suggest that children set their account settings to private and limit who can access those accounts. If your child is communicating with someone online that they don t know Face-2-Face, it could be anyone. Instruct them not to give out any personal information. VIDEO GAMES GAME SITES (PLAY THE GAME DON T GIVE OUT YOUR NAME) Many children and teenagers frequent popular game sites online, such as Club Penguin, Runescape, Xboxlive, and Nintendo (online) just to mention a few. They are fun and very attractive to kids. Many of these sites let you communicate with others who are also playing in these games. We tell kids that if they want to communicate with others, talk only about the game.

6 TECHNOLOGY SAFETY TIPS The most important message the District Attorney s Office wants to relay to children is if you don t know someone Face-2-Face you should not communicate with them. Personal information posted online by a child can help a stranger find them. It takes very little personal information for someone to find out where a child lives, goes to school, or spends their free time. Personal information can include names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, hobbies, clubs, sports or other activities in which a child might be involved. Pictures are also personal information. A picture of a child can assist a stranger in finding them. Once a child sends their picture to someone or a website, either online using their computer or cell phone, it is gone forever. This is the same for written communication. All account settings for children, including teens, should be set to private. Parents should limit the number of friends with access to their child s accounts. The information posted by their child should be viewed only by those they know Face-2-Face. Many kids have up to 500 friends on their social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. This means that they do not know everyone Face- 2-Face and that they could inadvertently have a predator as a listed friend.

7 STRANGER DANGER - INTERNET STRANGER In recent years we ve seen an increase in the number of children approached by online predators in Jefferson County and throughout Colorado. Some of these children have actually been sexually assaulted by these sex offenders. Parents are often shocked to find that their child has been communicating with a sex offender. Some parents believe their children are safe if they do not have Internet access in their home. Unfortunately, kids are very resourceful and technologically savvy. They may use the Internet at their friends homes or school. Today, most kids have Smart Phones ; they take Internet access with them wherever they go. The District Attorney s Child Sex Offender Internet Investigations (CSOII) Unit takes a dual approach to protecting children online. While we aggressively pursue those who lure kids on the Internet, we believe we are more effective presenting our Internet safety programs to children, parents and teachers. Parents and teachers have done a great job educating children about meeting strangers on the street. The CSOII team continues to stress the danger with those strangers, but also educates children about strangers online. District Attorney Investigator in Charge Mike Harris heads the CSOII Unit. He developed an Internet safety program targeting elementary school children. This program is the only one of its kind. Investigator Harris believes that these younger children, first through third grade, are the ones who are most likely to make inadvertent mistakes online. The CSOII unit still provides online safety education for fourth grade through high school students, but believes they have a better chance of in-stilling lasting safety messages in the younger students. The program specifically designed for the younger children is called Stranger Danger Internet Stranger. Investigator Harris uses a mascot named Cheezo to help captivate and cement the educational safety messages in these young students. This program has been extremely successful and has drawn great reviews with a long lasting impression from the children and parents who have seen the program. The Internet and advances in technology are here to stay. We encourage parents to attend a presentation so they can see this message and continue the dialogue long after we are gone.

8 ipods/ipads/tablets We continue to see teenagers making bad decisions when using technology. Many parents are surprised to find their children turning their ipod/ipad/tablet into a texting instrument by downloading free applications available today like Text Free, Text Plus, Text Now. In circumstances where teens have lost their cell phone privileges, or simply are not allowed to have a cell phone, they can download free texting apps turning their device into a texting instrument, unbeknownst to their parents. Teens with cell phones can also download these free texting applications in an effort to hide the content of the text messages they are sending. Many parents are vigilant in checking their teens cell phone messages, but have no idea that their teens are text messaging from these free apps. Most parents know nothing about the function of these free sites. We suggest that when checking your teens messages and mail, that you also check their apps. There are new apps coming out everyday. Teenagers find them and use them before we even know they exist. Teens with cell phones can also download these free texting applications in an effort to hide the content of the text messages they are sending. Many parents are vigilant in checking their teens cell phone messages, but have no idea that their teens are text messaging from these free apps. Most parents know nothing about the function of these free sites. We suggest that when checking your teens messages and mail, that you also check their apps. There are new apps coming out everyday. Teenagers find them and use them before we even know they exist.

9 APPS Parents need to be vigilant in checking their children s apps and those which can be used to communicate and / or send pictures. Many parents check their child s main messages and , but stop there. Parents do not stop; this is just the beginning of keeping your child safe. It is important to check your child s messages, mail, contacts and photos. Consider enabling parental controls so your child can t just add an app. This allows you as the parent to consider the suitability of the app your child wants to download. Parents should be concerned with apps which have the capability for the user to communicate or send pictures/videos. Any app which someone can communicate anonymously should be considered high risk. Your child might be anonymous, but so will the person whom they are communicating with. One of the most popular texting apps today for teens is kik. The users of kik can text message and send pictures to each other. The individuals using kik are from all over the world. This app allows the user to be anonymous. Parents can also consider monitoring apps to better monitor what your child is doing. We have had some parents at safety presentations ask questions about invasion of privacy with these apps. We don t consider it invasion of privacy we call it Parenting. Most of these apps the child knows it is on their phone. Many parents don t get these monitoring apps because they don t trust their child, but rather they don t trust who is out there that might trick and hurt their child.

10 LOCATION SERVICES The location services settings on cell phones, ipods, ipads and/tables are very important. The settings can broadcast the location of the user and can be changed intentionally or inadvertently. The device has its own location services feature, as do most apps. It is important to understand these privacy settings because depending how they are set, you or your child may be unknowingly providing your exact location to a stranger. How to turn off location services on ipod, ipad or iphone: You can turn off location services completely or on an app-by-app basis. Most do it by an app-by-app basis. The only problem with this is one needs to ensure each time a new app is added they go and check to ensure the location services settings are turned off for that newly added app. 1. Go to settings on your device. 2. Go to Privacy. 3. Once Privacy comes up go to location services. At this point it will either be on or off. 4. Click on location services and it will list the individual apps you want on or off. Camera should definitely be off as you do not want the location properties to attach to pictures taken. Go through all the apps to determine what you want on or off. If you want to prevent your child from changing the location services setting do the following: 1. Go to settings on your device. 2. Go to General. 3. Go to Restrictions If you previously set up restrictions you will be prompted for the pass code. If not, choose Enable Restrictions and enter a pass code which you will remember and your child can t guess. 4. Click on Don t Allow Changes. Android Phones: 1. Tap Settings and select Users. 2. Tap Add user or profile. 3. Tap to add a restricted profile. You will be prompted to set up a lock using a PIN, password or pattern. Choose a password or PIN which you can remember and isn t to easy to be figured out. 4. All the installed apps on the device will then be displayed. Each can be turned on or off. 5. Choose Settings and from here you can choose to disable the location services.

11 SEXTING Sexting is a blend of texting and sex. Today s teens live in a culture that has become very sexualized and they are reacting to it. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photos through text messaging on cell phones. Middle and high school teens often talk sexually by text messaging. They also send naked pictures of themselves. It is against the law for anyone to send or receive naked pictures of anyone under the age of eighteen. That includes sending naked pictures of themselves. If you send or receive naked pictures of someone under 18 you can be charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Child, a class 3 felony, which could result in having to register as a sex offender. The Latest in Internet and Cell Phone Danger for Teens Many teenagers take sexually explicit or even nude pictures of themselves and send them to others either online or through text messaging. This is called Sexting. Sexting occurs more frequently than parents can imagine. These photos become Sextortion when they are used as a tool of exploitation or extortion. Recently a Colorado teenage girl made the mistake of sending her naked picture to a 20-year-old man in California. This teenage girl thought this young man liked her and she had feelings for him. She accepted him as a friend on Facebook site. After receiving the teenage girl s naked picture, the man threatened her, telling her that if she didn t send him $ dollars or send him more naked pictures of herself, he would send her naked picture to all her friends on Facebook. The teenage girl was faced with the possibility of her naked picture being distributed to all her friends and felt pressured to comply. The teenager finally told her mother, who then alerted law enforcement. This 20-year-old man was identified and prosecuted. He was sentenced to prison. These Sextortion cases are very concerning to law enforcement as frightened victims might give in to demands such as posing for explicit photos, having sex with the perpetrator or sending them money. District Attorney Investigator in Charge Mike Harris asks parents and possible victims of Sextortion to report incidents to law enforcement. These threats and demands need to be investigated and the suspects stopped.

12 A TRUE STORY Never assume that anything you send or post online is private. A 16-year-old girl was asked by her 17-year-old boyfriend to send him a naked picture of herself. She felt pressured by the boyfriend to send the picture but she reluctantly did it. She took a picture of herself with her cell phone and then sent it to him in a text message. The teen asked her boyfriend not to show it to anyone. He promised he wouldn t it, he told her it was just for him and that he wouldn t show it to anyone else. Approximately two hours later the boyfriend sent the naked picture of his girlfriend to his best friend and told him not to show it to anyone else. The best friend also promised not to show it to anyone else. Ten days later this 16-year-old girl went to school and found the naked picture she had sent her boyfriend taped to her locker. The same naked photo was also found taped in ten other places around the school. The 16-year-old was humiliated and embarrassed. She was taunted and ridiculed. She was so devastated that she ultimately dropped out of school. The two teenage boys responsible for this were charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Child. They were adjudicated and now have to register as sex offenders until they are both 26-years-old. The 16-year-old girl was also charged and given a deferred adjudication. Sexting can be devastating and your children need to know how seriously it can affect their lives. Once you post a photo online or send one through in a text message, that photo is in cyberspace forever.

13 FACE-2-FACE Our most important and #1 Message for kids communicating with any technology device (computer, smart phone, Tablet, ipad, ipod, or gaming device) is to only talk with people they know Face-2-Face. ONLINE GAMES Many kids play online games. Parents need to have rules in place if your child plays interactive online games. Interactive meaning that the players can communicate with each other in real time while playing the games. There are so many online games available for kids that it is impossible to name all of them. We have a simple rule, Play the Game, Don t Give Out Your Name. You can talk about the game, but not about You. Never give out your personal when you are gaming. Personal information includes where you go to school, where you live, what sports you play, hobbies you have, or what you do for fun.

14 PARENTS NEED TO KNOW Some adults use technology to contact and lure children for sexual purposes. If an adult is communicating with a child through technology and asks, attempts to ask, says, or does the following, they have committed a crime: 1. Asking anyone under the age of eighteen (18) for their naked or partially naked picture. 2. An adult sending their naked picture or picture of their private parts to anyone under the age of fifteen (15) is a felony. 3. An adult communicating with anyone under the age of fifteen (15) about meeting them for sex or sexual contact is a felony, even if a meeting does not occur. 4. An adult meeting anyone under the age of fifteen (15) for sex is a felony. 5. There are many other things which can be illegal with an adult communicating with someone under the age of eighteen (18) and if unsure we encourage you to contact law enforcement. WHAT TO DO? If you suspect that your child is communicating with a predator through technology, even if it hasn t escalated to the points listed above, consider the following steps: 1. Stop the communications immediately and take the technology devicebeing used until law enforcement is contacted. 2. Do not contact the suspect or allow them to know parents are aware of communications. 3. Note the location where the communications are taking place, such as Facebook, text messaging, apps, or gaming sites. 4. Save, screen capture or print out the communications and/or pictures. 5. Obtain your child s password for signing onto their device. 6. Obtain your child s user name, or screen name, along with the password for signing onto the site they are communicating. 7. Note the user name, or screen name of person communicating with your child. The Cheezo unit can always be contacted at or by ,

15 RESOURCES CHEEZO HOT LINE: or Child Sex Offender Internet Investigations Unit (CHEEZO): CHEEZO FACEBOOK for Parents and Kids: Jefferson County District Attorney s Office: CBI Sex Offender Registry Convicted Sex Offender Site: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: The Online Safety Project: Netsmartz: SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR DONORS: Larry A. Mizel and MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation 4350 S Monaco Street, Suite 500 Denver, CO Mandi and Allen/Moose Hill Cantina W Colfax Avenue, Lakewood, Colorado, Gary Scott and Dynasty Painting 4451 E Lake Circle, Littleton, Colorado,

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