\"\"
Ask the Expert

Interview With An Internet Safety Expert

By Feb 24, 2011 May 16th, 2012 32 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links which may give us a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

As a follow up to Tuesday’s post on Internet safety I decided to bring in advice from a professional. Keith Dunn is a detective turned internet safety expert who conducts seminars for teachers, parents, and students to navigate the technology in the lives of children. He has amazing energy with kids as well as years of experience in the law enforcement. Keith has been training the community about online safety since 1999!

keith dunn

I caught up with Keith to ask him about what we can do as parents to be safer online in an effort to protect our families.  Here is what he had to say:

How common is it that somebody is targeted online and harassed or stalked?

Since there are sexual predators online 24 hour a day 7 days a week and 365 days per year, I can say that 1 out of every 5 people, especially kids and teens, are targeted or stalked online. I am just going by what I have seen and learned through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the FBI during my time as a detective for the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

What can I do if I feel like I’m being cyber stalked or bullied? Who can help me?

It really depends on the type of stalking or bullying that is going on. My recommendation is that if you are an adult, then find someone who is in the law enforcement field and let them know what is going on. If it is not that serious of a problem, but just annoying, have the law enforcement officer e-mail the subject on your behalf.

If the constant harassment continues, then notify your law enforcement agency and file harassment compliant. The cyber tip line at NCMEC.org can help you find the appropriate agency to contact. My recommendation if it is serious is to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Install a monitoring program on you or your child’s computer and log every comment that they are saying.

If you are being bullied on Facebook or any other social networking website, then notify them of the harassment immediately. If the stalking, harassment or cyber bullying is about killing you, or hurting you or your family, and you feel that you could be in eminent danger, then notify the local police department, district attorney’s office or your nearest FBI field offices.  If that fails, then contact the NCMEC.org and they will be able to give you some good solid advice.

Every stalking and cyber bullying case is different and requires individualized attention.

If I began my blog two years ago and have included my first and last name throughout the posts, is it too late to change?

This is a hard one. If you already put your name on the internet, then it is on there forever. The greatest line in the movie “The Social Network” is that the internet isn’t written in pencil, it is written in ink. Even after you delete a post; it will always be somewhere, even if it is 50 Google pages down. Your best bet if you want to take back anything you have put online or want to make sure that no one else posted anything else negative about you go to Reputation Defender.

kids_safety

What are three big no-nos that you see most often?

Young girls posting provocative images online. Talking or sharing private information with someone you just met online or that you don’t really know yet. The biggest thing I see is that since people feel anonymous, they do whatever they want online without thinking. If something scary ever happens, they feel like it is there fault and don’t report the incident or they let it get out of control.

What are three things parents can do today to make their websites safer?

Install a monitoring program like eBlaster. Keep the computer in a common area of your home for the whole family to use. If you have small children, introduce them to a social networking website like Yoursphere, which is child and kid friendly. Just think before you post. Teach your kids and family to imagine that they are sitting outside on the sidewalk online and everyone that walks by can see what they are doing. Everything they say can be seen by the WHOLE WORLD.

Much of your expertise is helping kids to be smarter about their online experiences, what can we do as parents to create a safer online experience for our kids?

The biggest thing you can do is communicate openly with your child. I would get contacted by about 300 sexual predators every single month. I have interviewed about 50 girls between the ages of 11-16 and every single one of them said that they would meet someone offline that they met online if they felt safe or were with friends and it was in a public place. Please tell your kids that it is NOT okay EVER to meet someone offline unless it is with mom and dad or a guardian.

Internet Safety

Is it true that there is no way to truly remain anonymous or untrackable on the Internet and that if someone wants to find me bad enough they will?

This is 100% correct. If someone wants to find you, they will. I have arrested guys that have become so obsessed with someone online that they would spend any amount of money and do whatever they needed to just to catch one glimpse of who they became obsessed with.

Tech’s will deny this comment and say that there are tons of programs out there to hide your identity, but in today’s cyber world, everyone has something personal about them on the Internet, even if they didn’t put it there themselves. Do me a favor…..go Google yourself and spend a nice chuck of time searching through the pages. I promise that you will eventually find your name associated with some organization, even if you don’t have Internet access yourself.

Many of us post pictures of our kids online. What is your stance on this?

If you are posting photos of your kids online make sure that they are appropriate pictures. Make sure you right click protect them so that no one can right click and save them.

Is there anything we should all know about Internet safety that you think most don’t think about?

No, I think we covered it with all of your great questions. Let me just remind you that the Internet is written in ink, not pencil. Remember that your online life needs to be the same life you live off line.

Thank you so much Keith for your insight! Such a great message to spread and really so much for us to learn. Just take a look at this guy in action!:

 

You can connect with Keith on Twitter and Facebook for more great advice!

32 Comments

  • Anne Galivan says:

    And he (Keith) has a great chin! 🙂

    I think one of the biggest problems is that parents let their kids onto social sites when they are too young. Memo to parents: you don’t HAVE to let your kids have a Facebook account! And when they say, “but everyone else does” – you do know the proper parent response to that, right?

    I didn’t let my kids on any social sites until they were at least 16, and my 26-year old daughter is “friends” with her 17-year old brother so she can monitor his site since I am not on Facebook. Not that I am really worried. But again, even though I know that my son knows our standards and respects them, I have another firewall built in there.

    It’s sad that “protecting our kids” has gotten such a bad name in the last 40 years or so, but guess what parents…it’s still your job. And if you get the rep as the parent who is “too restrictive” – so be it!

  • Stefanie says:

    What a TERRIFIC post!! I will definitely be checking out Reputation Defender. Thanks SITS girls!!!

  • Great advice and it really made me think. My kids are still young but it’s going to be an issue in a few years. Thanks also for the Yoursphere link!

  • PatriciaD says:

    Thanks for the article and all the comments…there is so much more to learn.

  • This is great thank you so much!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Always good to have refreshers and reminders of Internet Safety.

  • Nolie says:

    Though a great article one of the Q&A’s bothered me.

    Many of us post pictures of our kids online. What is your stance on this?
    If you are posting photos of your kids online make sure that they are appropriate pictures. Make sure you right click protect them so that no one can right click and save them.

    Though I understand the whole no right click and I do it myself it really does not protect pictures and just makes it 1 step more to take the picture. This Q&A can be misleading to those who don’t know otherwise as I see many people who do think disabling right click makes their pictures secure.

    There is I think it is IE that you can hover over picture for a save as option to come up. There is going to view source and grabbing direct link for picture and then there is the fool proof can’t trick it screenshot method. I don’t want anyone to think anything is safe on the internet. Nothing is. Not even membership based forums or websites. Always ALWAYS ALWAYS know that what you put out there can be accessed by anyone who wants to.

  • On breakfast TV here in Australia, it was recommended to get your kids to do the Grandma test before putting anything on-line ie Would you want your Grandma to see it? If not, don’t do it! (Similar to in the article but maybe hits home a but more for some.)

  • […] Excerpt from: Internet Safety | Keith Dunn | Online Safety […]

  • Leslie Limon says:

    Excellent post! Thank you for all the helpful information.

  • Kara says:

    This is some great information! I thought I was pretty informed about online safety, but I learned a few things. Thanks!

  • Kelly says:

    Great advice!

  • Great info BUT right clicking does nothing more than disable right clicking. Anyone smart enough can view page source and still get the image. If that doesn’t work because of flash there are countless other ways to get the image if someone really wants it. If you’re concerned then don’t post it. “protecting” it is worthless.

  • Great post, we underestimate how important this is. For all of us.

  • Thank you, Keith for these great tips. I might also add . . .
    1. Cell phones should be for emergencies only. Yes, they’ll yell and scream and call you the most evil parent in the world but if all parents would get phones that call only (no texting, no internet access, no cameras!) the kids would be much safer.

    2. Even with all of Keith’s suggestions, there are ways for people to save any pics you post and spread them over the internet. So while you might have your privacy settings locked down to certain friends and family, you can’t control what they will do. Worse yet, these pictures can be modified so even the most innocent picture can bite you.

    3. Find suitable self-defense training for you and your kids but avoid 1 hour quick fix classes.

    Good luck! We can run but we can’t hide! ; ))

    Last blog post: Auto-matically Safe http://blog.safetrainingllc.com/2010/09/29/automatically-safe.aspx

  • Jennifer says:

    I think this is really great information. I shared it with all of my Facebook friends. Which seems just a tad bit ironic.

  • Mimi says:

    That was a very helpful post! I’m saving to my blogging 101 fav folder!

  • Jen says:

    Awesome post! Learned more than a few things. 🙂

  • Kristin_OPC says:

    Great info, Kat! i’m off to learn about right click prtecting!

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Internet safety is something I am paranoid about so I appreciate the information and tips. 🙂

  • […] Internet Safety | Child Safety | Online Safety. LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  • Crystal Lien says:

    OMGosh what a great post. Amazing information. I have one question if anybody can help…how do “right click proctect” your pictures??? THis may seem pretty basic to most (or all) of you, but I am new to all of this. Any tips would be great. Thanx!!

      • Anthony says:

        One thing Keith should make a bigger point out of: If you put up a picture AT ALL on the internet, there is no way to keep someone from saving it. See that little “PrntScrn” button on the top right of your keyboard? Even if someone can’t right-click the picture, they can still take a screenshot of the picture and save it that way. If a picture is out there it’s out there!

        • Kat says:

          Good point Anthony! Also, if you subscribe to a blog in a feeder you can right-click save the pictures to your computer that way. I guess it just goes back to do whatever you can to make it harder to access…but it will always be there.

  • So how do I right click protect my pictures? Thanks!

  • I would also add that one should greatly consider possible long-term effects/consequences before posting words and photographs online.

  • Great post. Thanks for the info.

  • Nicky says:

    A great post with some sage advice!