Parents warned of Internet dangers
by Elane Jones
Sep 04, 2012 | 1176 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Investigator Tim Thomas speaks to parents at T.R. Simmons Elementary School. - Photo by: Elane Jones.
Investigator Tim Thomas speaks to parents at T.R. Simmons Elementary School. - Photo by: Elane Jones.
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By ELANE JONES

Daily Mountain Eagle

A new program being conducted by the Walker County Sheriff's Office CyberCrimes Division is teaching parents how to protect themselves and their children from the dangers lurking on the internet.

Walker County Sheriff's Office Computer Forensics Investigator Sgt. Tim Thomas told the parents, teachers and students who attended the PTO meeting held Thursday night at T.R. Simmons Elementary School that the technology we have available to us today, such as the Internet and cell phones, is a wonderful thing, but it can also be dangerous.

“Don’t get me wrong, I'm not here to bash the Internet or cell phones, or any of the social media websites, but when used inappropiately they can be a very dangerous thing,” Thomas said. “I hope to open your eyes to some of the dangers with cell phones, tablets, internet chat rooms and such.”

Thomas said all parents need to be aware of what their children are doing on a computer or cell phone, because child predators are there using those same devices watching them as well.

“Don’t be a friend, be a parent and look at your child’s computer and/or cell phone and see what they're doing on it or looking at,” Thomas said. “You pay the bill and it’s your responsibility as a parent to keep your children safe.”

Thomas recommended that parents use the parental controls on their computer or purchase special filters that can block the contents of certain websites.

“We recommend this especially for younger children, because it’s all in how they search. They could be trying to type in the word ‘Corvette,’ but one letter in the wrong place will make all the difference in what comes up on that screen,” Thomas said. “Instead of looking at the car, they’re now looking at a porn site. These special filters have firewalls built into their libraries that will pickup on that and keep these unwanted sites from opening.”

Thomas said the filters also store the computer's login history in libraries, so parents can see what websites their children are going to on the internet.

“A lot of new technology is coming out everyday, and parents need to be aware of it and stay update as possible,” Thomas said. “Our kids can go in there and do just about anything they want to with a computer, but some of us grown-ups are still learning. So it's important that we make parents aware of the dangers lurking out there.”

Thomas will be hosting this class at schools in the area throughout the year. Contact your child’s school to find out the dates and times.