West Columbia, Texas receives a computer to prevent Internet crimes

WC receives a computer to prevent Internet crimes


Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 2:00 am

By KELLIE McKNIGHT kellie.mcknight@thefacts.com |


WEST COLUMBIA — The West Columbia Police Department is the first department in Texas to receive a donated computer designed to prevent Internet crimes

against children. The Texas Moose Association donated the “Cop in a

Box.” The association has been involved with Safe Surfin’ since 2008. It is a program that helps keep kids safe from Internet predators.

“It is a crime that is growing,” said Texas Moose Association Regional Manager Ronald Trygstad.

Click below to read more..

West Columbia Receives Computer

Safe Surfin’ Foundation Releases the Parents Internet Safety Handbook!

Safe Surfin Logo 2009 no background small

This handbook is full of very important and useful information about how to keep your kids safe on the Internet.

Topics include:

– General guidelines for Internet safety
– Tools that can help keep your child safe on the Internet
– Possible danger signs to recognize
– What you should do if you suspect your child is being exploited
– When to immediately contact law enforcement
– Instructions for your child to help keep them safe while enjoying the Internet

Download the Parents Internet Safety Handbook (PDF)

Internet Safety Tips

If you or your children use the internet, use these internet safety tips to teach your family how to stay safe online.

Flirting in Chat RoomsInternet Safety Tips for Chat Rooms

1. Chat rooms aren’t really safe. Anyone can join a chat room and see what you are typing.

2. People aren’t who they say they are. There is an alarming number of predators that use chat rooms on the internet and pretend to be someone they are not.

3. Never, ever arrange meetings with strangers. They probably aren’t who they say they are.

4. You can’t always hide personal information. Checkout this video of a real girl who could not hide her identity >

Go to wired safety to find out basic safety tips of online chat rooms and more internet safety tips.

Internet Safety Tips using Facebook

1. Be careful about who you add as friends. Only add people you know well enough that you are comfortable with them reading everything you have written, or seeing all of your pictures.

2. Don’t allow your children to use Facebook. Only allow grown teens to use it, and then monitor it very carefully.

3. Don’t post your address or other personal information about yourself.

4. Check your settings and make your Facebook page private.

Look at Facebook’s safety tips for educators, parents and teens >

Education is Key to Internet Safety

If you want your kids and family to be safe on the internet, make sure to take our internet safety pledge, and do regular discussions about being safe on the internet.

The more you monitor and stay in discussion about internet safety, the less likely you will be to face danger. Read more internet safety tips and keep your kids safe through education.

Internet Safety for Students

The Safe Surfin’ Foundation is your one-stop shop for all of your needs for internet safety for students.

Today, students are constantly staying connected to each other and to the world wide web. With text messaging, social media and internet surfin’ they have the whole world at the tip of their fingers.

But just because students are keeping connected to each other, doesn’t mean they know how to safely avoid internet predators.

The average teenager is online an average of 5.5 hours a day. According to the FBI, there is a “100 percent chance” kids will encounter a sexual predator in one of the 40,000-plus chat rooms that criminals visit.

So how do you teach internet safety for students?

The first way is through internet safety educational CDs for students of all ages. You can look at the CDs here >

Secondly, you can talk with your children or students and have them take the internet safety pledge here >

Remember, internet safety for students is critical to their education!

Decoding Chat Language: Acronyms for Texting and Chat Rooms

Chatting over the Internet has created a whole new language or ‘code’ that many parents are not aware exists, let alone able to read.

Below are some acronyms that are commonly used in chat rooms and are now also seen on cell phone “texting” or messaging. This is just a sampling so you will be able to recognize this language should you encounter it on your home/child’s computer.

The following is a list of some common online Emoticons and Acronyms.

Note: These have been edited for vulgarities.

AAMOF – As A Matter Of Fact
AFAIKAs – Far As I Know
AFAICAs – Far As I’m Concerned
AFAICTAs  -Far As I Can Tell
AFKAway  -From Keyboard
A/S/L – Age, Sex, Location
BAK- Back At Keyboard
BEG- big evil grin
BMTIPG – brilliant minds think in parallel gutters
BRB – Be Right Back
C&G – chuckle and grin
C4N – Ciao For Now
CRS – Can’t Remember Sh**
CSWGAS – Call Someone Who Gives a Sh**
DITYID – Did I Tell You I’m Distressed?
EOD – End Of Discussion
F2F – Face To Face
FO – Fu** Off
FU – Fu** You
GA – Go Ahead
GAL – Get A Life
GFETE – Grinning From Ear To Ear
GMBO – giggling my butt off
GMTA – Great Minds Think Alike
GTGTTBR – Got To Go To The Bath Room
H&K – hug and kiss
HHOK – Ha Ha Only Kidding
ILU – I love you
IPN – I’m posting naked
ISP – Internet Service Provider
IWALU – I will always love you
J/K – Just Kidding
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid
KMA – Kiss My A**
KOL – kiss on lips
L8TR – Later
LD – Later Dude
LMFAO – Laughing My Fu**ing A** Off
LOL – Laughing Out Loud
LUWAMH – love you with all my heart
OM – old man
ONNA – Oh No, Not Again!
OLL – On Line Love
P911 – my parents are coming!
PAW – Parents are watching
PU – That Stinks!
REHI – Hello Again (re-hi!)
SNERT – snot nosed egotistical rude teenager
TAW – Teachers are watching
TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It
TPTB – The Powers That Be
TSWC – Tell Someone Who Cares
URL – Web Page Address
WTG – Way To Go
WTGP – Want to go private?
WU? – What’s Up?
WUF – Where are you from?
YGIAGAM – You Guess Is As Good As Mine
ZZZ – Sleeping
TMI – Too much Information

Filtering Software Do’s and Don’ts

Use of filtering software

Filtering software is a great tool, but is not a panacea. There are no magic bullets when it comes to protecting our children. Like a hammer, filtering software has a single function. It does exactly what its name implies, targets specific words in order to allow a web site to be displayed on your Internet browser. When an objectionable word is found by filtering software at a request web site, that site is then blocked from view. That sounds perfect. It is doing exactly what you purchased the product to do. However, there are concerns.

Many times a helpful web site is blocked by filtering software because one or two objectionable words are scanned within the pages. Example: Information on Breast Cancer would be blocked because “breast” is considered an objectionable word. This occurs because software is programmed and cannot think or make judgments. This can lead to censorship and keep valuable information from your family.

Remember too, there is no filtering software that will prevent your child from chatting with a stranger and possibly sharing personal information. EDUCATION is the key!!

Unpublicized Dangers Associated with Filtering/Blocking Software:

  • Blocking Software can be easily defeated. Web sites provide tutorials for disabling all the filtering and blocking software that is on the market.
  • Blocking Software may filter out things you want such as medical information. (breast cancer for example)
  • Blocking Software won’t filter some unwanted sites because web builders wanting innocent children to surf their site will be clever with content and know how to avoid the filters
  • Parents become “lulled asleep” feeling secure that their child is safe and secure because they have filtering software.
  • Remember, web sites, as objectionable as they may be, are not as dangerous as chats, Instant Messages (IMs), and e-mails!!
  • Filtering software must be constantly updated. New web sites are added to the Web at a rate of 200,000 per month and not all are ‘safe’ websites.

Points to consider when selecting filtering software:

NOTE: Safe Surfin’ Foundation DOES NOT endorse any particular filtering/blocking software. This is solely for information purposes.

Selecting the right kind of filtering or blocking software for your family can be difficult. What is required for an eight year old will certainly be different than software for an adventurous teen.


  • The age of your children
  • Are you trying to catch your child in the act of violating Safe Surfin’ Rules
  • Are you trying to stop them from visiting pornography and hate sites?
  • In your child technically savvy? Will they be trying to disable the software?

For Younger Children: You will want to protect your child by installing filtering software so they don’t accidentally access pornography of something else that could be extremely disturbing to them.

For Older Children: Consider “Monitoring Software”. This way, you can check where, who and what your child has been doing online, key stroke by key stroke. IamBigBrother is able to record both sides of actual conversations your child is having in chatrooms, IMs, email and also what websites they are visiting. Other monitors to consider are SpectorPro, eBlaster, NetVizor.

The best way to pick software that is right for you and your family is to go online and do a search of “parental controls” or “filtering Software”.

What Can Parents Do?

Education is key. Speak to your kids. Just as you taught them not to talk to strangers on the street, remind your children that contacts online are STRANGERS unless you know that you are speaking with a relative or a friend.

People are not who they say they are.

  • People lie. As adults we know this, but our children do not.
  • Emphasize how easily it is to hide your identity on the internet.
  • Visit a chat room with your child and point out the ways in which it would be easy for a person to lie about their true identity. In this way you are showing rather than telling your child.
  • Ask your child to point out ways in which a person could be hiding truth.
  • Your participation is the key!

Never provide personal information: Information can and will be misused.

  • Impress upon your child to always use their chat name.
  • Impress upon your child that it is okay to fill out fields in the profile sections of communities just as long as they stick with general information such as “I collect sea shells” or “I enjoy football”. Any field asking for personal information such as name, city, school should be left blank. Profile sections are where Internet predators scan for potential victims. Just because there are areas asking for information, it DOES NOT mean you have to fill them out!!
  • Visit the profile section of an online community and go through what is and is not appropriate to fill in.
  • Impress upon your child to never give out home address, phone number or any other personal information such as the school they attend, name of their team, street they live on, even the city they live in. Please refer to How Can a Pedophile find my child?
  • Impress upon your child to stay anonymous. No matter how long they have been chatting with someone, they are still strangers.
  • Impress upon your child not to give out email addresses on first meeting.

Kids are born to explore. They are going to want to meet each other or the person they believe to be their peer. We must make sure our children understand that no matter what they are doing or whom they are meeting, they must tell a trusted adult, preferably a parent, what they plan to do and who and where they plan to meet.

We strongly advise against any face-to-face meetings with online strangers!!!!

Defining and Preventing “Cyber Bullying”

What is Cyber Bullying?

If you’re like most teenagers, you spend a lot of time on a cell phone or instant messenger chatting with friends and uploading photos, videos, and music to websites. You may have online friends whom you’ve never met in person, with whom you play games and exchange messages. Teens’ lives exist in a variety of places such as school hallways, part-time jobs, and friends’ houses. Now many teens also have lives on the internet. And bullying has followed teens online.

 Online bullying, called cyber bullying, happens when teens use the internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Cyber bullying is a problem affecting almost half of all American teens. Whether you’ve been a victim of cyber bullying, know someone who has been cyber bullied, or have even cyber bullied yourself, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyber bullying and stay cyber-safe.

How are Teens Cyber bullied?

Being a victim of cyber bullying can be a common and painful experience. Some youth who cyber bully:

  • Pretend they are other people online to trick others
  • Spread lies and rumors about victims
  • Trick people into revealing personal information
  • Send or forward mean text messages
  • Post pictures of victims without their consent

When teens were asked why they think others cyber bully, 81 percent said that cyber bullies think it’s funny. Other teens believe that youth who cyber bully:

  • Don’t think it’s a big deal
  • Don’t think about the consequences
  • Are encouraged by friends
  • Think everybody cyber bullies
  • Think they won’t get caught

Contrary to what cyber bullies may believe, cyber bullying is a big deal, and can cause a variety of reactions in teens. Some teens have reacted in positive ways to try to prevent cyber bullying by:

  • Blocking communication with the cyber bully
  • Deleting messages without reading them
  • Talking to a friend about the bullying
  • Reporting the problem to an internet service provider or website moderator

Many youth experience a variety of emotions when they are cyber bullied. Youth who are cyber bullied report feeling angry, hurt, embarrassed, or scared. These emotions can cause victims to react in ways such as:

  • Seeking revenge on the bully
  • Avoiding friends and activities
  • Cyber bullying back

Some teens feel threatened because they may not know who is cyber bullying them. Although cyber bullies may think they are anonymous, they can be found. If you are cyber bullied or harassed and need help, save all communication with the cyber bully and talk to a parent, teacher, police officer, or other adult you trust.

How Can I Prevent Cyber Bullying?

Teens have figured out ways to prevent cyber bullying. Follow in the footsteps of other quick-thinking teens and:

  • Refuse to pass along cyber bullying messages
  • Tell friends to stop cyber bullying
  • Block communication with cyber bullies
  • Report cyber bullying to a trusted adult

You can also help prevent cyber bullying by:

  • Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyber bullying
  • Raising awareness of the cyber bullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
  • Sharing NCPC’s anti-cyber bullying message with friends

Don’t forget that even though you can’t see a cyber bully or the bully’s victim, cyber bullying causes real problems. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.
  • Delete cyber bullying. Don’t write it. Don’t forward it. Remember that the internet is accessed by millions of people all over the world, not just your friends and family. While many internet users are friendly, some may want to hurt you.

Below are some ways to stay cyber-safe:

  • Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or social security number) or your friends’ personal information.
  • Never share your internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
  • Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.
  • Talk to your parents about what you do online.

Check out the following resources to learn more about preventing cyber bullying:

Safety Scenario: Internet Chat Rooms

A boy named “Jonathan” who is 12-years old and from Virginia has been chatting with “Tony” who says he is 12-years old. Over the months they have built up a great ‘online’ friendship, playing online games, checking out the NASCAR website and continuing with their friendly rivalry over Chevrolets and Fords and just talking about ‘guy’ stuff.

Tony tells Jonathan that his family is coming to Williamsburg, Virginia for a vacation. “Wouldn’t it be cool if I called you when we got there? Maybe your parents could drive you out to Williamsburg!” Jonathan thought it was a great idea and gave Tony his home phone number. It would be so cool to meet Tony in person!

The Reality

This is a case of an adult posing as a child.

 Tony is not a 12-year-old boy. Tony is really a 54-year-old man who was ‘grooming’ Jonathan in hopes to find him, befriend him, and ultimately have an inappropriate relationship with him.

Here is how this child predator found Jonathan:

1. Anyone can go online to Google and search for “reverse lookup.” There are hundreds of sites where you can find, for FREE, the address attached to a phone number. Even unlisted numbers are available.

2. When searching for a phone number, it is easy to come up with a name. Additional links for more public records are readily accessed as well as personal information about the child’s family. The possibilities are endless on information that can be gathered from a mere phone number.

3. Once the address is located, it is just a click of the mouse to get driving directions from anywhere in North America, a detailed map of the area, and ‘helps’ to find schools, malls, movies, and other ‘hang outs’ for kids. Software such as Net Detective aids pedophiles further in finding their next victim.

You can see how something as simple as providing a phone number, last name, town/city, or school name can lead a predator to search and find your child.

How can we help?

The Internet is the most technologically advanced research/information/business vehicle ever known to man. We can’t ignore it, we can’t keep our children away from it. So, what do we do? There is only one answer: EDUCATION


Understanding how the Internet works, what websites kids are visiting, and how pedophiles exploit children online will help parents and communities in their efforts.

 Here you can learn how to educate yourself and protect children and teens from online sexual predator.

Start here: What Do Internet Predators Look Like?