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Electronic technology has become an everyday fact of life. We use it to communicate, to bank, to shop, to learn, to be entertained, and to be treated medically, among countless applications.

In the right hands, technology has the power to transform our lives in ways that only a generation ago we could never have imagined. But in the wrong hands, technology can lead to identity theft, online auction fraud, child abduction, and many other crimes.

Children, who are most at risk, learn about computers and the Internet at an early age. But just as you wouldn’t let children cross a busy road without some safety rules, you shouldn’t send them onto the information superhighway without teaching them the rules of the road. Too many dangerous people can reach children – and adults – through the Internet. Today’s technology is a wonderful tool, but you must know how to use it safely.


  • To guard against identity theft, never give out your Social Security number. Treat it as confidential information.
  • Commit all passwords to memory. Never write them down or carry them with you.
  • When using an ATM machine, make sure no one is hovering over you and can see you enter your password.
  • When participating in an online auction, try to pay the seller directly with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if the merchandise does not arrive or was misrepresented. If possible, avoid paying by check or money order.
  • Adopt an attitude of healthy skepticism toward websites that offer prizes or giveaways. Chances are, all that’s been “won” is the opportunity to buy something you didn’t want in the first place.
  • Choose a commercial online service that offers parental control features.
  • Tell your children never to give out their address telephone number password school name or any other personal information.
  • Make sure your children know to never agree to meet face-to-face with someone they’ve met online without discussing it with you. Only if you decide that it’s okay to meet their “cyber-friend” should they arrange to meet this person, and then the meeting should be in a familiar public place in the presence of a trusted adult.
  • Tell your children never to respond to messages that have bad words, are scary, or just seem weird.
  • Tell your children never to enter an area that charges for services without asking you first.
  • Tell children never send a picture of themselves to anyone without your permission.
  • Make sure that access to the Internet at your children’s school is monitored by adults.