Hawsey speaks on cyber safety

Published 11:48 am Monday, October 15, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Captain Timothy A. Hawsey with the Flomaton Police Department shared important information about cyber crimes and the use of the Internet at Atmore Community Hospital Thursday afternoon.
Hawsey spoke about several different types of cyber crimes at the meeting at ACH and he said a type of cyber crime is having people "hack" into your computer.
"When you are online a hacker can get anything that's on your computer," Hawsey said. "They say the ideal situation is to go online on a different computer than what you keep you're personal information on. The reason they call them 'hackers' is because they have to have some way to get into your computer."
Another type of cyber crime is the use of pornography, Hawsey said.
"Pornography we see on the Internet today is megabucks," he said. "We have to be very careful that we're teaching at schools to stay away from drugs, but the same goes with the Internet, it's an addiction and criminals are after our children. They are trying to get into our children's minds so they will get addicted."
Hawsey said it is very simple for children to accidentally end up on an inappropriate Web site. For example, www.whitehouse.com used to be a Web site for pornography. Teachers would encourage children to use the Internet for research and they would stumble across pornography when they thought they were going to a legitimate Web site. Hawsey said that is how children could become addicted to the Internet and pornography, simply by accidentally stumbling upon it.
Another way for individuals to get into trouble while using the Internet is by creating a profile on a social networking Web site. Hawsey said 61 percent of 13-17 year olds have personal profiles on a social networking Web site and half of those teens have posted pictures of themselves. The Web site could allow complete strangers to see what the teen looks like, where they live, where they go to school and much more personal information that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
According to Hawsey, older teenagers, 16-17 year olds, use the Internet for social interaction.
"Emotionally they (teens) don't see the problem, they aren't cautious," Hawsey said. "Parents need to have control. Do not give them a computer that they can have in their bedroom."
Hawsey said predators tend to jump at the chance to chat with teens, especially when the teenager is feeling down in the dumps, and does not care what type of end result will occur.
"An educated criminal mind doesn't look at the consequences of their crime," he said. "It is about instant gratification. There needs to be some checks and balances with teens. Ask them 'have you ever had someone you didn't know try to talk to you online?' You can help them stay on top of things."
For more information on Internet safety, Hawsey said www.getnetwise.com is a great Web page to view.

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