Brad Rozzi of the Logansport Police Department, teens are more often receiving threatening messages than anything else.
Although that's not good news, it is better than having a child succumbed to an Internet user's plea to meet face-to-face, which recently happened with a Kokomo girl who claimed to be raped by a man she
met via the Internet.
Nothing like that has been reported in the Logansport area, said Rozzi
, but a threatening incident did occur June 25th.A 17-year-old girl informed the police department that a man she
had met online told her
was going to cut her
head off," said Rozzi
Because many of the Internet users use fake names, Rozzi
said it's often difficult to track down the ones who make threats.However, that's part of his
investigations uncover the true identities, sometimes they don't.
said, each and every threat made to a person should be reported.
That's precisely what happened last year when a local high school student made a threat to another student over the computer.Due to the severity of the threat, First Sgt.
"Sometimes kids just go overboard," Rozzi
said in reference to how predators draw kids into their webs.When a kid is in a chat room and she
starts talking about a bad day at school, "they might think they're talking to their friends," but someone they don't know could be "listening" in on the conversation.
Feigned sympathy from that stranger becomes an Internet friendship.
Most of the chat room problems occur with middle-school aged kids, said Rozzi
, who's getting more cases concerning Internet issues as the year goes on."I get them pretty frequently, several times a month."
And they're not only dealing with chat rooms, he
said.Many threatening messages come across e-mail.
"No one is safe in cyber space," Rozzi
People who want to find out personal information generally don't have any problems if they're determined, which is why teens should not give out any information to people they don't know.Certain chat rooms ask for a user's information including name, age, address, e-mail address and a photo."Don't give it to them," said Rozzi
."You don't give out your Social Security number.Don't give out this stuff." He
also said parents need to watch their children more carefully.
There are several ways to keep an eye on your child, even if you're not in the room.
Some programs take pictures of the computer screen every three minutes to track what's being seen by the user, according to Rozzi
.Parents also can check the history file, if it hasn't been deleted.
Programs like NetNanny that block sites such as chat rooms, which have been proven to be bad, and porn sites, should be installed, he
"Every day someone figures out a new way to send a threatening (message) without getting caught," Rozzi
said."Parents should keep an eye on their kids -- see what's going on."Parents are the first protectors.