Saturday, October 14, 2006

Instant Message, Chat, and Smiley Definitions

Click here for a list of definitions that explain all of the IM, Chat, Messenger, etc abbreviations. It's also got the smiley codes. The link will open in a new window, and you must click on the "download file" link at the top. This is the lingo that folks everywhere (and particularly young people) are using. It's a Microsoft Word file, so you can simply hit ctrl+f to search for a term or abbreviation that you've not seen before. Want to know what your kids are saying online? Search the file. Be diligent and monitor your kids' online activities. This will be added to the sidebar shortly.

If you'd like to read a sample fictitious chat where a predator lures an unsuspecting child, just click the link in our side bar or go here.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Please take a moment to check out the links in our sidebar. There is some good information to be had there. Also take a look at the "internet definitions," that are there. There will be a followup with "chat/IM definitions." Believe me when I say that they are necessary. How many of you know what all of the abbreviations on IM's truly mean? We'll let you know. We simply have to compile the list (there's tons of them). We're going to find a way to post them in a Word or .pdf document so that it will be searchable. That way, you can simply hit ctrl+f and type in what you want to find, and it will show you the goods.

There's no substitute for knowing what your kids are doing. If we help one parent, it's worth the effort.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Internet Warning Signs

Here are a few warnings signs that your child may be having a problem with pornography on the Internet:

Your child is hiding disks.

Your child spends an inordinate amount of time on the Internet or is online late into the night.

Your child uses computer files that end in .gif or .jpg. These are picture files that may contain the latest Hubble telescope photos or pornographic material.

You discover unusual charges on your credit card statements. Be especially suspicious of phone charges that identify themselves as "Web Site." Many pornographers don't provide their names to avoid raising parental concern.

Your child quickly changes the computer screen when you enter the room.

You notice changes in your child's behavior (mention of adults you don't know, secretiveness, inappropriate sexual knowledge, sleeping problems, etc.).

Chat Room Statistics

A lot of parents and kids think they are safe online and that they don’t have to worry as long as they are ‘careful’. Here’s some startling statistics about internet chats…

Approximately 89% of sexual solicitations of youth were made in either chat rooms or through Instant Messaging (Pew Study reported in JAMA, 2001).

1 in 5 youth ages 10 to 17 received sexual solicitation or approach in last year (Online Victimization, NCMEC, June 2000).

30% of teenage girls polled by the Girl Scout Research Institute said they had been sexually harassed in a chatroom. Only 7% told their parent because they were worried that their parents would ban them from going online (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2002).

86% of the girls polled said they could chat online without their parents’ knowledge, 57% could read their parents’ e-mail, and 54% could conduct a cyber relationship (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2002).

Law enforcement officials estimate that as many as 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given moment (Dateline, 2006).

42% of parents do not review the content of what their teenager(s) read and/or type in chat rooms or via instant messaging (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and NetSmartz, June 2005).

95% of parents didn’t recognize common chat room lingo that teenagers use to let people they’re chatting with know that their parents are watching. Those phrases are POS (parent over shoulder), P911 (parent alert), BRB (be right back), LOL (laughing out loud) and A/S/L (age/sex/location) (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and NetSmartz, June 2005).

Half of teens ages 13-18 often communicate through the Internet with someone they have not met in person (Polly Klaas Foundation, December 21, 2005).

One-third of youth ages 8-18 have talked about meeting someone they have only met through the Internet (Polly Klaas Foundation, December 21, 2005).

Almost one in eight youth ages 8-18 discovered that someone they were communicating with online was an adult pretending to be much younger (Polly Klaas Foundation, December 21, 2005).

Report any content or activity that you suspect as illegal or criminal to local law enforcement and to Cybertipline at 1-800-843-5678.