Cyber Protection Program
The Cyber Protection Program is comprised of Assistant District Attorneys, Massachusetts State Police detectives, and civilian Forensic Investigators, focused on the predatory abuse of the Internet, cell phones and other communication devices. The team investigates and prosecutes cases where computers have been used either to commit crimes or to store evidence of crimes. Cases include the sexual exploitation of children and financial scams aimed at the elderly.
The Unit also conducts prevention and intervention trainings for law enforcement, schools and community groups.
Statistics: Kids and the Internet
- A recent Emerson Hospital survey of 8,000 middle and high school students, many from Middlesex County schools, found that more than 24% of high school students and 19% of eighth graders reported giving personal to a stranger over Internet.
- The same survey found that over 14% of high school students, 13% of eighth graders and 12% of sixth graders reported meeting someone in person with whom they had initially contacted online.
- A survey conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that more than 14% of youth reported having received unwanted sexual solicitations online.
- This survey also found the 4% of youth reported receiving online solicitations for nude or sexually explicit photographs of themselves.
Keeping your family's use of the Internet and cell phones safe:
Set the Rules
- Set guidelines for your children on Internet and cell phone use.
- Work with your child to decide what is and is not appropriate use.
- Establish Internet privacy rules for the family. Remember that many services provide free e-mail, so your family's e-mail address may not be your child's only address.
- Tell your children never to respond to threatening or obscene messages, and never to click on links in an e-mail or download attachments from someone they don't know.
It is Illegal
- To electronically harass, bully or threaten anyone
- To send nude or partially nude photos of people or to people under the age of 18
- To use someone's credit cards without permission
- To download music without permission
- To use someone's identity without permission
- If you believe your child needs a cell phone, consider limiting camera or video capabilities.
- Make Internet use a family activity. Consider keeping the computer/laptop in the family room or other open area rather than in your child's bedroom.
- Let your children know that they can talk to you about anything they encounter online that makes them feel uncomfortable. Remember, how you respond will determine whether they confide in you next time.
- Monitor your children's online activity and cell phone use just as you would the programs they watch on television, the books they read, or the movies they see.
- Tell your children not to provide personal information or respond when someone offers them something for nothing, such as free software or gifts.
- Remind your children that the people they chat with are l strangers; because you can't see or hear people online, it's easy for an adult to pretend that he or she is a kid.
- Check out web sites for information about parental monitoring software.
For more information, click here for our office's Technology Tips for Parents.