Mickey with a Mouse?

The folks over at KINSA are hosting a contest that allows kids to submit ideas for an online safety mascot. Check it out here. And it's in partnership with TVO which is the Ontario equivalent of PBS. Fun times!


Some of us DO still read magazines!

Today's Parent is a great Canadian magazine for parents - obviously. Their web site has a great page with information for parents about kids and online use. It includes links to other resources and tips like the suggestion about getting to know what your kids are talking about. Too often we dinosaurs don't have a clue what the next generation is up to or talking about. But we better know if we want to keep them safe. Check out the whole article here. And while we're on the topic of magazines, Parents (this one is an American publication) also has some good advice about online activities - if you can find it through all the pop-up ads, that is (is it just me or does everyone find those things as annoying as me?). Read it here. While you're on their site, do a site search with "computers" to see some other great articles on the same topic.


A View from Down Under

Check out this post by Megan about a great book that helps educate kids and adults on "protective behaviours". Home Schooling Aspergers.: Win a Children's Book about Protective Behaviours I have family livng "down under" so it's good to know there's folks about looking out for kids in their part of the world too.


Looking for Sites

Looking for more resources and web sites geared toward kid safety on the internet. Try this great portal. The sites listed here provide a wealth of information for young and old. And I think the "bug" is cute, too!


Anonymous e-mail generator.... what a great idea!

Doing a completely unrelated web surf, I came across information about this great service that allows you to generate anonymous e-mail addresses. Why? Have you tried to get information from a web site recently? Have to tired to register for a "free" something or other? What about signing up for a news feed, or just about anything you want on the web? I'll bet your kids have! So what happens when you do? Spam, spam and more spam. And that's the good news. The bad news is that the information you share can be used to compromise your security and safety both online and off. Well, this service offers a way to get around sharing your personal information (ie. your email address) when signing onto one of these sites or services. It generates an anonymous and random link that allows you to keep your personal info safe and still get the information you want. And best of all - its free! What a great idea!

Protect Your ID

Just read an interesting article about protecting against identity theft. It's a good piece by Kurt Hyde, who's been in the computer biz for over 30 years, and points out a lot of stuff about how ID theft takes place and what we should do to prevent it. Once you're done reading that, go back to my post about using software to protect your kids while they are online.


Justice - for our Kids

The U.S. Department of Justice launched the Project Safe Childhood program about a year ago and since then has done a lot of good work in tackling the growing problems associated with online dangers being faced by our kids. According the the DOJ, "as technology advances and as the Internet becomes more accessible, the number of computer-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes committed against children—including child pornography offenses and “traveler” or enticement crimes—will only continue to grow. The goal of Project Safe Childhood is to enhance the national response to this growing threat to America’s youth." Hear, Hear! Check out the information available on their web site here.


Praising Arizona

A great report out of Arizona about the recently concluded Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force which investigated over 1,300 incidents and managed to nab 100 evil-doers. It's a great report and there are some interesting stats included. Although the figures about luring and possession of child porn are familiar and scary, what I found most interesting was this number - during the mandate of the task force, 17% of incidents - a total of 220 cases - were referred to or supported the work of other law enforcement agencies. The nature of the internet means that crimes are committed everywhere and if we truly want to put a stop to this kind of activity, then cooperation is an absolute must. I take heart in hearing that the folks in Arizona are doing their part. I'm looking forward to - and keeping my fingers crossed for - hearing many more reports like this one.


News Hound Booze Hound

This is the kind of thing that makes me shake my head. According the this story, there are about 25 states that have recently passed laws allowing online sales and shipping of alcohol. Of course the problem comes from the easy access this provides to youngsters who shouldn't have that access. There's a very difficult line to draw here between freedoms and protections. And surely there are ways to monitor the system better. Those whose business it is to provide this kind of service should be responsible for being more responsible about their customers. Ultimately, however, the onus falls on us to be aware of what our kids can find online and make sure they are mature enough to know better.


I wonder what the badge looks like?

Ain't surfing the web great? Somehow I came across an intersting bit that just fits in so well with everything I've been saying here. It's an Internet Safety Pledge available from the Girl Scouts. I guess things have come a long way since the days when girls got badges for baking cookies and learning to sew buttons! The pledge is a great tool, so take a look